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.

Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

  • What's next for agency cyber efforts?

    Ninety days after the Trump administration's executive order, FCW sat down with agency cyber leaders to discuss what’s changing.

Reader comments

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 OccupyIT

SBA does almost everything except what they should be doing. It's like a miniature GSA - a club. I've never seen an organization more hostile to real small businesses and their needs than the SBA. They openly admit it is a game and essentially allow only firms willing to contort themselves (I'd say to an almost unethical degree) to help them with their CYA.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group