The House passed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. This is the final version of the annual defense authorization bill and it reflects the input of both the House and Senate. I voted for the bill.
The bill authorized a pay increase for the military and expanded our anti-terrorism efforts, and it also included language that reforms the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program, an initiative impacting many companies that contract with the federal government to provide goods or services. The HUBZone program is a small business federal contracting assistance effort designed to encourage economic development in economically underperforming areas. Garrett County has been eligible to participate, but has been slated to be “redesignated” (i.e. losing their status) in 2018.
As you can imagine, we’ve been fighting against this.
According to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, there are 11 HUBZone certified businesses countywide, employing nearly 500 people.
The bill that passed yesterday extends Garrett County’s eligibility until at least 2020. The bill also creates a longer review period and changes the formula for how rural counties are designated, making it more likely that underdeveloped regions maintain their status. These provisions are similar to what I put forward in legislation that I introduced earlier this year – the GARRETT Hubzone Redesignation Act.
This bill, which is soon headed to the President’s desk, reflects a bipartisan consensus that we need to continue to invest in places like Garrett County. The HUBZone program is all about encouraging economic development in the parts of the country that need it the most and by any standard that should include Western Maryland. Earlier this year, I visited the TDEC facility in Oakland to hear more about the work they do and how they benefit from the HUBZone program and I had a fantastic time meeting people on site.
I have been proud to work with local leaders and the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce on my legislation and applaud these provisions in the NDAA, which accomplish the same goals.
I look forward to this legislation passing the Senate and being signed into law.
John Delaney represents Maryland's 6th Congressional District. The district represents all of Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties and parts of Frederick and Montgomery Counties.