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NEWS EXTRA

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SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

mcconell

McConnell Invites Sec. Burwell for Bipartisan Briefing on Zika Virus Response Efforts

‘We know there is an increasing amount of concern about what the spread of this virus could mean for the United States as we head toward warmer months. Given the public concern that followed the first Ebola case in our country, I think we could all benefit from having a better understanding of what preparations are being made to protect Americans.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Zika virus:

“As I recently mentioned, Speaker Ryan and I had the opportunity to discuss some important public health issues at the White House yesterday.

“One was the Zika virus.

“We know there is an increasing amount of concern about what the spread of this virus could mean for the United States as we head toward warmer months. Given the public concern that followed the first Ebola case in our country, I think we could all benefit from having a better understanding of what preparations are being made to protect Americans.

“To that end, I’ve asked Secretary Burwell and her team to come to the Senate to brief relevant committees and leaders in both parties. This briefing will happen next week. I appreciate the secretary’s willingness to meet this request in such a timely matter and I know the information will be useful to members and their constituents.

“Another public health issue we discussed is the opioid epidemic that continues to have such a profound impact on families and communities across the state I represent and across the nation we all share.

“Despite all of the important steps Kentucky has taken at the state level to address this epidemic, the Commonwealth still suffers from some of the highest drug overdose rates in the country, driven by prescription painkillers, heroin, and more recently, fentanyl – a synthetic opioid that is more powerful than heroin. Republicans and Democrats are working together to identify bipartisan solutions to this challenge, and I look forward to seeing that collaborative work continue.”

SOURCE:  DOD NEWS LEAD PHOTO

Marine Lance Cpl. Ethan Evans, left, instructs Lance Cpl. Jacob Levy on the automatic weapon range during comprehensive live-fire training on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan 23, 2016. The Marines of 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company conducted firing exercises and machine gun ranges during the training.

Marine Lance Cpl. Ethan Evans, left, instructs Lance Cpl. Jacob Levy on the automatic weapon range during comprehensive live-fire training on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan 23, 2016. The Marines of 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company conducted firing exercises and machine gun ranges during the training.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with troops at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif, Feb. 2. 2016. Carter is traveling this week to meet with service members and other members of the defense community to preview the FY17 defense budget and its impact on the military. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with troops at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif, Feb. 2. 2016. Carter is traveling this week to meet with service members and other members of the defense community to preview the FY17 defense budget and its impact on the military. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee

SOURCE:  SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

SBA Announces Cooperative Agreements Available for State Trade and Export Promotion

Will Award $18 Million to Promote Small Business Exporting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that states will be able to immediately apply for SBA cooperative agreement awards that support efforts to increase exporting by small businesses.  The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program was appropriated $18 million to make awards by September 30, 2016. STEP Program cooperative agreements will be awarded on a competitive basis.

“Last year, the SBA surpassed our record for trade finance, supporting $3.3 billion in export sales. I believe we can do even more to help our small businesses reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Small businesses aresba-logo-op_original_crop increasingly engaging in the ever evolving global market place.  Through our STEP awards, states can transform more small businesses to become exporters and expand their export sales. In the process, these small businesses will create jobs and strengthen their communities.”

The STEP Program has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export.  The 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to apply. The award amounts will vary based on the awardees proposed project plan, budget, and competitive quality.  Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s National Export Initiative NEXT.

Results for the STEP program have been very strong. Awardees reported supporting export activities a return on investment of federal funds of over 19:1 from export activities in 85 country markets supported by STEP funding during the first two award years.

A state may not submit more than one application for a STEP award and must support the following export related activities: participation in trade missions, foreign market sales trips, design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, export training workshops or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program.

The STEP Program announcement is posted at www.grants.gov  and applications will be accepted through March 17, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/step.

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