Department of Defense Appropriations Act - Continued

Floor Speech

By:  Ben Cardin
Date: Dec. 27, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, this amendment is totally noncontroversial. In the bill, they increase the surety bond limits for small businesses from $2 million to $5 million. It was an amendment I worked with Senator Landrieu on in the Small Business Committee. It was included in the Recovery Act. It expired. It has been very successful. It has generated a lot more contracts than anticipated. Making the limit permanent has no cost.

This amendment would strike the provision from this bill since it has already been included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which has passed this body at $6.5 million, made permanent. So there is no need to include this provision in the supplemental appropriations bill.

I know of no controversy on this amendment. We do not need any debate time. I am hopeful we will clear this for a voice vote tomorrow.

I wish to thank Senator Landrieu for her work and Senator Snowe on the Small Business Committee and thank Senator Mikulski for her work.

The Small Business Administration's surety bond program provides a guarantee on surety bonds, which are issued by contractors to assure customers that contract work will be completed.

The surety bond program gives small businesses critical support to secure work, which will be especially important during recovery and rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy.

The underlying bill contains a provision, requested by the administration, which would increase the maximum surety bond guaranteed by SBA from $2 million to $5 million.

The Defense authorization conference agreement contains a provision that would raise the maximum to $6.5 million.

The amendment strikes the provision in the supplemental related to SBA surety bonds in order to avoid conflicting with the House and Senate's conference agreement in the Defense authorization bill.

This amendment is a simple but important technical fix supported by Chairwoman Landrieu and Ranking Member Snowe of the Small Business Committee.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

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