Washington, D.C. – [Monday] evening, H.R. 4407, the SCORE for Small Businesses Act of 2019, passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 389-8. This is Representative Kevin Hern’s first piece of legislation to pass the House.
“SCORE is an essential program for our entrepreneurs and small business owners,” said Rep. Hern (R-OK-01). “As a small business owner myself, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to start your first venture. The mentorship provided through SCORE can be the difference between success and failure for a first-time entrepreneur.”
As a freshman Member of Congress – in the minority party, no less – passage of a bill through the House is a milestone achieved by very few.
Rep. Hern continued, “It’s no coincidence that my first bill to pass the House focuses on our small business owners. Entrepreneurship should be encouraged at every level – this is what drives our local economies and strengthens our communities. I’m grateful for the bipartisan support this legislation garnered, proof that this Congress is capable of coming together to do work that matters to the American people.”
SCORE utilizes an expansive network of volunteers at 350 chapters nationwide to provide personalized one-on-one counseling and workshops, either on-line or in local communities, to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and manage their small business. In Fiscal Year 2018, (FY 2018), SCORE volunteers mentored and trained 600,000 clients and conducted outreach to attract additional clients. In FY 2017, it helped launch more than 54,000 new businesses.
On April 25, 2019, the Inspector General released the findings of an audit (Report No. 19-12.) of SCORE. The OIG found that improvements are needed to ensure SCORE minimizes risk of fraud or misuse of program funds and SBA did not ensure it accurately measured the effectiveness of the SCORE program.
The legislation amends the Small Business Act to strengthen SCORE and restores integrity, accounting, and performance to the program. By including certain safeguards, the legislation would ensure SBA is a good agent of government funds and the counseling and training program is operating effectively and efficiently.
More specifically, the legislation would:
· Protect taxpayers’ dollars Ensure federal contracts are awarded properly
· Align salaries and performance awards with federal standards;
· Protect whistleblowers
· Expand services and promote diversity
· Ensure SCORE meets Congressional intent
Authorization of Funds: This bill provides for an authorization of appropriations for three years, FY 2020 – FY 2022, in the amount of $11.7 million for the SCORE program.
Full bill text here._