Oversight

Congress questions SBA spending

Karen Mills

SBA Administrator Karen Mills has some questions to answer about agency spending. (File photo)

The House Small Business Committee is concerned about Small Business Administration officials' spending plans as sequestration hits budgets. Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) wants to make sure officials focus spending on the agency's core mission: to help companies.

In a letter sent April 3, Graves asked SBA Administrator Karen Mills pointed questions about employee travel and the usefulness of some websites. (Read the letter.)

"The committee remains concerned that core functions of the agency may be curtailed by sequestration," Graves wrote. "This is particularly problematic if the SBA continues to fund activities not specified [by current statute] or unnecessary travel by SBA employees."

To get a better look into agency's budget plans, Graves is seeking responses about expected travel costs for the fiscal year and the cost of the National Small Business Week event. SBA's major annual conference, scheduled for June, highlights entrepreneurs and business owners' efforts in various areas.

He questions the need for Regional Innovation Clusters that connect small and large businesses, including networking with potential industry partners abroad. He questions its future since it isn't authorized by law.

Graves also wants information on the cost of hosting the website to apply for two awards, but specifically the "Tibbetts Award." The awards are for companies that have participated in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, and the second one, for individuals who advocate on behalf of the programs.

As for the conference, clusters, and the awards, Graves wants a breakdown of the costs SBA will pay and those absorbed by non-governmental organizations. Officials should protect funds for SBA's guaranteed loan programs, according to Graves. Congress appropriates money for the programs and, with budget as they are, the programs likely will face cuts.

"It is important for the SBA to have contingency plans in place," Graves added.

The committee plans for a hearing April 24 to question Mills about the spending as SBA faces sequestration.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.