House Small Business Committee
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology will meet for a joint hearing titled, “Improving the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs.” The hearing will take place at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, May 4, 2017 in Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are interested in collaborating on legislation making minor adjustments and improvements to the programs in 2017. The objectives of these initiatives include expansion of commercialization of federally-funded small business research and development, stimulation of technological innovation in the small business sector, and increased use of this community to meet the government’s diverse research and development needs. Government and private sector witnesses will discuss the programs and suggest potential improvements to help stimulate commercialization rates, modify reporting requirements that improve data collection, and ensure agencies are utilizing all of the tools available to help transition SBIR and STTR technology into larger contracts.Hearing Documents
1. Hearing Memo
2. Hearing Notice
3. Witness List
Mr. Joe Shepard
Associate Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation
United States Small Business Administration
Mr. John Neumann
Director, Natural Resources and Environment
United States Government Accountability Office
Mr. John Clanton
Chief Executive Officer
College Station, Texas
John S. Langford, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
Mr. Ron Shroder
Frontier Technologies Inc.
Ms. Angela M. Albán
President and CEO
Winter Park, FL
Clinton T. Rubin, Ph.D.
SUNY Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Director, Center for Biotechnology
Stony Brook University
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Empowering Small Businesses: The Accelerator Model.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing will examine how business accelerators help entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses grow and create jobs, while also offering Members of the Committee the opportunity to hear from organizations that are directly involved in offering private sector resources to small businesses.
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Ms. Starr Marcello
Executive Director, Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC)
Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
University of Chicago
Mr. Darrin M. Redus
Sr. Vice President
Minority Business Accelerator
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Ms. Carolyn Rodz
Founder and CEO
Chairman Dave Brat has scheduled a hearing of the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access titled, “Small Business: The Key to Economic Growth.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, April 27, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Mr. Stephen Moore
Project for Economic Growth
The Heritage Foundation
Mr. Andrew Sherman
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
WASHINGTON—The Members of the House Small Business Committee this evening introduced H. Res. 288, celebrating next week as National Small Business Week.
Every President since 1963 has designated National Small Business Week to highlight the unmatched contributions of small businesses the American economy.
H. Res 288 details the impact of small businesses in America:
Whereas there are more than 29,600,000 small businesses in
the United States;
Whereas small businesses represent 99.9 percent of all businesses
with employees in the United States;
Whereas small businesses employ over 47 percent of the employees
in the private sector in the United States;
Whereas small businesses constitute 97.7 percent of firms exporting
Whereas small businesses are responsible for more than 46
percent of private sector output;
Whereas small businesses are responsible for creating 63 percent
of new jobs;
Read full text of H. Res 288 HERE.
National Small Business Week is April 30-May 6, 2017.
WASHINGTON – Ahead of National Small Business Week, a distinguished group of experts toldthe House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access that small business innovation can spur economic growth.
“Washington can do more to help America’s businesses with the largest growth potential— small businesses. They represent 48 percent of the workers in the private sector, and make up an overwhelming amount of all businesses,” said Subcommittee Chairman Brat (R-VA).“With next week being National Small Business Week, today’s hearing is a timely opportunity to discuss the connection between small businesses and economic growth.”
“And while small business owners painstakingly finished their tax returns last week, simplifying and lowering tax burdens would be a huge shot in the arm to both small businesses and economic growth. Access to capital is yet another issue small businesses need addressed in order to ensure their success,” Subcommittee Chairman Brat added. “While Congress and the Administration are committed to reviewing regulation that inhibits access to capital, the Subcommittee is also concerned about the fact that venture capital investment is largely concentrated in only a few metropolitan areas.”
The Way Forward
“I believe that the hope of human achievement, and policies that allow for us to produce and grow free of government intervention will break all expert predictions,” said Stephen Moore, Distinguished Fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation. “This is all possible as Congress enacts policies that reduce regulation, lower taxes, and empower small business to expand beyond what we thought possible.” Moore continued, “No other debt-reduction policy –certainly not a tax increase—comes close to having the fiscal effect that sustained prosperity does.”
“If you reduce the tax on working, you’re going to get more work,” Moore said.
“Turning to present day trends, 2017 has seen a widespread but tempered increase in confidence among small business owners regarding the economy and overall trends in business investment,” testified Andrew Sherman, Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. “Business owner optimism has increased in part due to promises of tax reform, regulatory reform, and the strength of the capital markets. We are all aware that small and emerging businesses are the backbone of our country and a significant engine for the creation of new jobs.
“Streamlining agencies’ approval processes at the state and federal level, while still maintaining comprehensive business guidelines, will help businesses open their doors faster and with lower ongoing compliance costs,” added Sherman. “The current trend to better define the true cost of regulation and its impact on smaller companies, as well as pressure on agencies to publish clearer regulations so that small businesses can understand guidelines, rules and regulations without having to involve lawyers, accountants and other business counselors must continue to be the focus of this Committee.”
Cutting Red Tape and Taxes for Small Business
“If you think about what policies would be a good idea, you would have to think about what policies would spur productivity growth. Regulatory reform could be something useful,” said Dr. Robert Barro, a John H. Makin Visiting Scholar with the American Enterprise Institute. “An attractive fiscal package could spur economic growth, and here I would look at things like the proposed cuts in corporate income taxes and income tax rates as being positive.”
“We have very high business tax rates – virtually the highest in the world,” Barro testified.
WASHINGTON – Officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) told the House Small Business Committee today that SBA’s disaster relief loan program continues to struggle with long processing times, fraudulent claims, and post-disaster communication with small businesses.
While witnesses praised the RISE After Disaster Act, bipartisan legislation crafted by the Small Business Committee and signed into law in 2015, they noted that SBA still has much work to do to ensure they are prepared when the next disaster strikes.
“The Disaster Loan Program provides direct loans to help businesses of all sizes, homeowners, and renters rebuild following a federally declared or certified disaster,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “But in the wake of past major disasters—such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy—SBA has fallen short. Disaster victims have had to wait weeks and months for their loans to be processed. And in already desperate and confusing times, they have been left confused by SBA’s role within the federal government’s complex and duplicative disaster response.”
“Unlike past hearings, we are not in the wake of a major catastrophe. That provides us a unique opportunity to examine the steps SBA is currently taking to prepare for the next one, whenever and wherever it may strike,” Chairman Chabot added. “As Administrator McMahon stated in her confirmation hearing, ‘[d]isasters don’t pick a time, they happen. And we need to be prepared for those disasters.’ This Committee wants to help SBA and Administrator McMahon make sure it is prepared.”
When Disaster Strikes: Getting SBA Relief to Small Businesses In Need
“The Disaster Assistance Program is a vital component to the nation’s response plan for homeowners and business owners in the wake of significant disasters,” testified Hannibal “Mike” Ware, the Acting Inspector General of the SBA. “As such, it is critical that the program is operated in the most effective and efficient manner. Having implemented corrective actions for dozens of OIG recommendations since Hurricane Katrina, it is evident the Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA) is better positioned to provide assistance to disaster victims, though every disaster tests SBA’s ability to deliver anew.”
“Each disaster has unique circumstances and poses unforeseen challenges that SBA personnel must adapt to and overcome to be successful,” added Ware. “The need to disburse loans quickly, and in some instances in large volumes, poses many complications and may create opportunities for dishonest applicants to commit fraud and SBA personnel to make errors in the lending process. Having effective internal controls, robust technology design and resources, and training programs are keys to mitigating risks to the taxpayer.”
Getting the Word Out: SBA Post-Disaster Communication Challenges
“SBA has taken some actions to enhance information resources for business loan applicants but could do more to improve its presentation of online disaster loan-related information,” testified William Shear, the Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). “In 2016, GAO found that SBA took or planned to take various actions to improve the disaster loan program and focused on promoting disaster preparedness, streamlining the loan process, and enhancing online application capabilities.”
“However, GAO found that SBA had not effectively presented information on disaster loans (in a way that would help users efficiently find it), had not consistently described key features and requirements of the loan process in print and online resources, or clearly defined financial terminology used in loan applications,” observed Shear. “Absent better integration of, and streamlined access to, disaster loan-related information, loan applicants may not be aware of key information and requirements for completing the applications.”
“Our primary focus is to provide low-interest, long-term loans for privately-owned property losses as part of the recovery effort in coordination with other Federal, state, local, Indian Tribal and territorial government partners,” explained James Rivera,Associate Administrator Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA) at SBA. “The SBA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partner to ensure disaster survivors obtain the maximum amount of assistance for which they are eligible. SBA and FEMA share information to ensure no benefits are duplicated when providing assistance. In events where a Presidential disaster declaration including Individual Assistance is authorized, disaster survivors should first contact FEMA since in order to apply for an SBA loan, they will need to obtain a FEMA Registration ID Number.”
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Storm Watch: Making Sure SBA’s Disaster Loan Program is Prepared.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Mr. James Rivera
Office of Disaster Assistance
United States Small Business Administration
Mr. Hannibal “Mike” Ware
Acting Inspector General
United States Small Business Administration
Mr. William Shear
Financial Markets and Community Investment
United States Government Accountability Office
WASHINGTON—Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) has led the introduction of legislation essential to providing relief for small and seasonal businesses that are suffering under a lapse in the H-2B visa program. H.R. 2004, the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act, makes fundamental changes to the H-2B visa program to provide certainty for seasonal employers that have been plagued by the program’s inefficiencies and constantly changing regulatory environment.
The SEASON Act clarifies the role of temporary legal workers in the American economy, who are in no way seeking or becoming qualified for permanent legal status or residency in the United States under an H-2B visa. The bill stipulates that a returning temporary alien worker can receive an H-2B visa in subsequent, consecutive fiscal years without being counted towards the annual statutory cap, allowing businesses to meet labor demands during their peak seasons.
“Our small businesses are the number one job creators in this country,” said Chairman Chabot. “The need for seasonal employees is too great and too vital to the rest of the economy to let the H-2B visa program continue in its current state. Our temporary seasonal worker program is one of the most important ways we help our small and seasonal businesses thrive in peak times, and reforming it to meet this essential purpose sooner rather than later will keep doors open for our small and seasonal businesses and their American employees.”
“Thank you Chairman Steve Chabot for introducing the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act to help our third generation, family-owned carnival and food concession business,” said Paul and Tom Murray of Murray Brothers, Inc., a Cincinnati-based member of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA).“Murray Brothers have been serving fairs, festivals, fund raisers, PTA events, party rentals and corporate events throughout Ohio. As small business owners, each year, we struggle to find seasonal help. The seasonal H-2B visa program has saved our company and we would find it extremely hard to run our businesses without H-2B workers.”
The SEASON Act contains provisions that authorize the Department of Homeland Security to administer the H-2B program, ensuring the safety and security of American borders in meeting the need for temporary legal workers. Additionally, the SEASON Act enhances protections for American workers and puts measures in place to keep the employers, seasonal workers, and the federal government accountable.
To read the SEASON Act, click here.
For more information about the H-2B visa program and its importance to small and seasonal businesses, click here.
The Honorable J. Russell George
U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
WASHINGTON – As the federal income tax filing deadline approaches, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) told the House Small Business Committee today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must be more vigilant in protecting taxpayers’ personal information from identity thieves.
“As tax season heats up, so too does tax fraud season,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “In testimony before this Committee last year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen reported that a cyber breach had exposed taxpayer data from over 700,000 accounts. Commissioner Koskinen also told us that IRS computer systems are under constant attack from would-be hackers to the tune of 1 million attempted cyberattacks per day.”
“Criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated and ruthless in the ways they commit tax identity theft and file fraudulent returns with ill-gotten personal information. At a minimum, the goal of the IRS must be to make this crime harder, not easier, for identity thieves to commit,” Chairman Chabot explained.
“The Largest Most Pervasive Scam in the History of Our Agency”
“Since the fall of 2013, a significant amount of our Office of Investigations’ workload has consisted of investigating a telephone impersonation scam in which more than 1.9 million intended victims have received unsolicited telephone calls from individuals falsely claiming to be IRS or Department of the Treasury employees,” testified J. Russell George, Inspector General of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). “The callers demand money under the pretense that the victim owes unpaid taxes. To date, over 10,300 victims have purportedly paid more than $55 million to these criminals. The telephone impersonation scam continues to be one of TIGTA’s top priorities; it has also landed at the top of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. The numbers of complaints we have received about this scam have cemented its status as the largest, most pervasive impersonation scam in the history of our agency. It has claimed victims in every State.”
“We at TIGTA take seriously our mandate to provide independent oversight of the IRS in its administration of our Nation’s tax system. As such, we plan to provide continuing audit coverage of the IRS’s efforts to identify and detect identity theft and provide assistance to victims,” George concluded.
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of an IRS Impersonation Scam, you can report it on the TIGTA website HERE.
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Taking Care of Small Business: Working Together for a Better SBA.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Honorable Linda McMahon was sworn in on February 14, 2017 as the 25th Administrator of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). From 1980 to 2009, Administrator McMahon was active in her family’s company, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., eventually becoming President and Chief Executive Officer. WWE began as a small regional company and grew into a large, global business. The Committee will hear from Administrator McMahon about her priorities for entrepreneurs and the SBA.
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
The Honorable Linda McMahon
United States Small Business Administration
WASHINGTON – In her first Congressional testimony since being confirmed as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Linda McMahon pledged to work with the House Small Business Committee to make her agency more effective and efficient in helping small businesses by improving capital access, counseling, and government contracting programs.
“This Committee has long believed that the SBA is an agency in need of attention,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) at the outset of today’s hearing. “The loan programs that provide crucial access to capital need vigilant oversight. The training and technical assistance programs that reach people through local SBDCs need to keep up with rapidly changing times. Our job is to ensure that SBA’s programs are effectively and efficiently serving the millions of Americans who work at, own, or want to start a small business.”
“We ended the last Congress with a lot of unanswered questions from the SBA about how the agency will address longstanding deficiencies in management, information technology, and program oversight. It’s our intention that today will mark the official start of a collaborative relationship that will address these issues and any more that arise in the future,” Chabot explained.
“Administrator McMahon has a record of spotting opportunity where few others could. I think it’s also safe to say that she doesn’t put up with much nonsense. We’re looking forward to hearing directly from her today about her plans for making the SBA a better agency,” Chabot noted.
The Main Event: Administrator McMahon Shares Her Goals For SBA
Administrator McMahon shared her own personal story as an entrepreneur who overcame difficulties to start her family’s small business. She told the Committee that this experience will help to better inform her work at the SBA.
“As I have visited small business all over the country, I have seen that same resiliency over and over again. Entrepreneurs are fighters,” Administrator McMahon said. “They work hard, and when they get knocked down by a recession or a natural disaster or simply a change in consumer demand, they turn to their creativity to make it better. But sometimes they need a helping hand.
“Now that I am the SBA Administrator, I am committed to ensuring that our agency is as strong as it can be to lift up as many entrepreneurs as it can,” McMahon pledged. “My commitment extends to make sure that all services we offer to our customers are delivered effectively and efficiently and, most importantly, that SBA and our partners are offering what small businesses actually need to grow, innovate, and create jobs. With small business as the driver of our economy, I believe our country will remain strong, too.”
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce will meet for a hearing titled, “SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs: Resources to Assist Small Businesses.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on March 30, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.Hearing Documents
WASHINGTON – Groups that assist American entrepreneurs told the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce that while key entrepreneurial development programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have helped small businesses, reforms could make these programs even more efficient and effective.
“From the startup company in my home district in California to the entrepreneurs and innovators all over the country, small businesses employ approximately half of all workers in the United States,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA) in his opening statement. “Recent reports identify health care costs, regulatory compliance and a burdensome tax code as the top hurdles impacting the nation’s small businesses.”
“Frequently short on time and wearing many hats within these new start-ups, entrepreneurs need guidance and assistance. This hearing today is about exploring the resources available to entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses as they navigate a complex business ecosystem.” Subcommittee Chairman Knight explained.
“We will hear about the technical assistance and expert advice available to them through the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Development programs. With approximately 29 million small business in the United States, the programs within the SBA must operate efficiently and swiftly as the entrepreneurs they seek to help. I am looking forward to hearing about the details of these programs. How do they help entrepreneurs? How do they assist startups traversing the regulatory environment? How can the programs be improved to better assist small businesses?” Knight said.
Small Businesses Know the SCORE
“SCORE is a uniquely American organization that synthesizes two historic national ideals: entrepreneurial spirit and volunteerism,” testified Ken Yancey, the Chief Executive Officer of the SCORE. “Since 1964, SCORE has provided expert volunteer business mentoring to more than 10 million entrepreneurs and small business owners. In 2015, SCORE set a goal is to help 1 million additional entrepreneurs by 2020. While this is an ambitious goal, it will help to guide a continual pattern of growth and expanded services. 13 Small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all employer firms and generate more than 50 percent of the non-farm private gross domestic product.”
“They employ more than half of all private sector employees. In this way, these small businesses are the engine of America’s job creating economy, the fabric of our local communities, and the embodiment of the American dream.” Yancey said.
Helping Women Entrepreneurs
“We appreciate this Committee’s dedication to the modernization of SBA’s resource partners and your willingness to hear from the programs that are serving entrepreneurs across the country,” said Antonella Pianalto, the President and CEO of the Association of Women’s Business Centers. “The WBC program is a proven program, an effective public-private partnership, and fills a growing need for the distinct population we serve. The directors and staff at WBCs are committed to helping women and their families prosper and achieve financial security through business ownership.”
“In my visits across the country, from California and North Carolina, to Florida and New York, I remain in awe of our centers incredible power to bring a dream, an innovation, or an idea to fruition. We urge Congress to advance the efforts already underway by this Committee to strengthen the WBC program and provide the necessary investment women entrepreneurs need to reach their full potential,” Pianalto explained.
Your Local SBDC Can Help
“This hearing couldn’t be better timed. The new Administrator has an opportunity to assess and analyze the programs at her disposal and work with us to maximize their effectiveness,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, the President and CEO of America’s Small Business Development Centers. “We need to identify the gaps in coverage – geographic and content. Who is doing what right? Who is doing what wrong? Are the goals, metrics and data systems up to the job?”
“The recovery from the 2008 recession left a lot of holes in our economy. Many counties and communities have not recovered. How will we focus our efforts, reach them and build their small business infrastructure? SBA and its resource partners have an excellent arsenal of talent to bring to bear on these problems. The biggest obstacle we have is failing to listen to one another and recognize our respective strengths and weaknesses.” Rowe added.
The American Legion on Veterans Entrepreneurship
“Small business continues to be a primary job generator and a major trainer for American employees,” testified Joseph C. Sharpe, Jr., the Director of the National Veterans Employment & Education Division of The American Legion. “The small firm workplace includes a considerable amount of young and entry-level workers. It is vital that veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses receive a fair and proportionate amount of federal contracts so these veterans can build and maintain successful businesses.”
“The American Legion reiterates that the Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development should be the lead agency to ensure that all veterans are provided with Entrepreneurial Development Assistance,” Sharpe stated.
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Evaluating the Paperwork Reduction Act: Are Burdens Being Reduced?” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Committee will examine the Paperwork Reduction Act’s effectiveness in reducing the paperwork burden on small businesses and issues that may warrant further scrutiny or legislative action.
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Mr. Sam Batkins
Director of Regulatory Policy
American Action Forum
Ms. Leah F. Pilconis
Environmental Law & Policy Advisor
Associated General Contractors of America
Small Business Committee Introduces Essential Contracting and Entrepreneurial Development Legislation
Bipartisan Measures Will Help Small Businesses Thrive
WASHINGTON – Small Business Committee Members introduced bipartisan legislation that will improve opportunities for small businesses to compete for federal contracts and modernize entrepreneurial development programs so they can more effectively serve small businesses.
“Small businesses create the majority of new jobs in our economy,” said House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). "Whether it is creating new opportunities for small contractors or improving key entrepreneurial development programs like SCORE, Small Business Development Centers and Women's Business Centers, the reforms in these pieces of legislation will give our small businesses confidence and practical tools to succeed. This has been a true team effort from our Members on both sides of the aisle. I appreciate the leadership and hard work of Ranking Member Velázquez and all of the Members involved in bringing this legislation forward.”
“I always say that when it comes to small business policy, there are not Republican or Democratic issues, but American issues,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee. “The bipartisan legislation we are putting forward today draws from an array of bills previously introduced by Committee Members on both sides of the aisle and will go a long way toward fostering entrepreneurship. By reforming government contracting rules, we can help unlock the half-trillion dollar federal marketplace for small firms, creating good paying jobs in communities around the nation. Strengthening Entrepreneurial Development programs will help existing businesses grow and aspiring entrepreneurs to launch new ventures. I look forward to working with Chairman Chabot and all the Committee Members to advance these measures.”
H.R. 1773, Clarity for America’s Small Contractors Act of 2017, sponsored by Chairman Steve Chabot Chabot (R-Ohio), co-sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
This bill includes:
- Title I: H.R. 1597, the Commercial Market Representatives Clarification Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
- Title II: H.R. 1641, Defining Business Opportunity Specialists, sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), co-sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
- Title III: H.R. 1693, Improving Reporting on Small Business Goals, sponsored by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
- Title IV: H.R. 1640, Unifying Small Business Terminology Act: sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
H.R. 1774, Developing the Next Generation of Small Businesses Act of 2017, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), co-sponsored by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)
This bill includes:
- Title I: H.R. 1702, Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), co-sponsored by Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), and Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA).
- Title II: H.R. 1680, Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), co-sponsored by Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL)
- Title III: H.R. 1700, SCORE for Small Business Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), co-sponsored by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
WASHINGTON – Today expert witnesses told the House Small Business Committee that federal paperwork requirements are costing America’s small businesses valuable man hours and money. The hearing focused on the effectiveness of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and explored possible ways to reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses.
“While the burden of federal paperwork is felt year round by individuals and small businesses, there is no more relevant time to discuss federal paperwork than in the weeks leading up to Tax Day,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). “Right now, individuals and businesses are pouring over tax forms and mind-numbingly complex instructions to make sure they get things right.”
“Currently, federal paperwork is estimated to annually take 11.6 billion hours to respond to or comply with and costs nearly $1.9 trillion. However, the burden may be higher as OIRA and others have raised concerns about the accuracy of agency burden estimates,” Chairman Chabot explained.
“While nearly 75 percent of the overall federal paperwork burden is generated by Treasury, onerous requests from other agencies contribute as well. Examples of these include Census surveys, OSHA reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and third-party or public disclosures, such as food labeling requirements. Laws enacted in recent years like Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Act have added hundreds of millions of hours to the total.” Chairman Chabot added.
11.6 Billion Hours
“The PRA has existed for more than a generation, but flaws remain in a law ostensibly designed to ‘reduce” paperwork,’ testified Sam Batkins, the Director of Regulatory Policy at the American Action Forum (AAF). “That goal has clearly failed, as the PRA has turned OIRA into a manager of paperwork, one where ‘pseudo-science’ reigns and little hard data exist. Reforming the PRA to increase public participation, eliminate redundant forms, and strengthen benefit-cost analysis, should be a bipartisan exercise. For the next generation of the PRA, government should strive to produce better data while imposing lower costs on respondents and the federal government.”
“In 1997, after amendments to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), the cumulative burden was 6.9 billion hours,” noted Batkins. “Today, it stands at 11.6 billion hours. Small businesses are particularly affected, with 3.3 billion hours of compliance burdens and $111 billion in costs.”
“No one should praise spending hours on tax, health care, or housing forms. However, Americans currently labor under more than 11.6 billion hours of paperwork according to the recent tally from OIRA. For perspective on this incomprehensible figure, it is roughly 35 hours for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. That is a work-week dedicated simply to filling out federal forms and retaining information for federal regulators,” said Batkins.
Reducing Paperwork Burdens will Benefit the U.S. Economy
“The PRA is an important tool to ensure that the federal government avoids the unnecessary collection of information and streamlines the information collection process,” said Leah Pilconis, Environmental Law & Policy Advisor to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “The federal government’s information collections take an enormous toll on the construction industry, which includes predominantly small businesses. Responding to federal reporting requests and documentation requirements consumes large amounts of time, resources, and funds. Any effort to reduce these burdens will benefit both the construction firms that face them and, in turn, the U.S. economy.”
Small Businesses One Regulatory Audit Away from Ruin
“Small-business employers often fall into the ‘they don’t know what they don’t know’ category,” said Frank Cania, the Founder & President of driven HR, a small business based in Pittsford, New York.
“Many of my driven HR clients started and continue operating today because someone had an entrepreneurial spirit and an idea,” explained Cania, who testified on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management. “Further, although none are experts in, or sometimes even familiar with, the full panoply of employment laws and regulations, they have always made a good-faith effort to be in compliance.”
“As I sit here today, I can think of several clients who were only one regulatory agency audit away from significant hardship or ruin before we started working with them. I say that not to pat myself on the back, but to show that, for far too many small businesses, and far too many well-intentioned and hard-working small-business owners, government forms and data collection may unnecessarily pose their biggest threat to continued success and prosperity,” Cania told the Committee.
WASHINGTON—Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) made the following statement upon the announcement of President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Rear Admiral Althea Coetzee to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA).
“Allie Coetzee’s distinguished record in the U.S. Navy is the remarkable foundation for the innovative and entrepreneurial approach she has since brought to making local, state, and federal government entities work better on behalf of small businesses,” said Chairman Chabot. “The Small Business Administration and Congress alike are sure to benefit from her firsthand knowledge of how small contractors equip and empower the service members that defend us all. The Small Business Committee looks forward to working with her and the rest of the formidable team Administrator McMahon is assembling at the SBA.”Last week, Chairman Chabot welcomed SBA Administrator Linda McMahon to his office for a conversation about their shared priorities in improving the SBA.
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
John D. Lawrence, Ph.D.
Associate Dean and Director for Extension and Outreach
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Iowa State University
Mr. Tim White
TA White Farm LLC
* Testifying on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Ms. Sarah Rickelman
* Testifying on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau
“Small farms have always been a part of our nation’s fabric, and it cannot be stressed enough that the small family farm is a small family business,” said Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade Chairman Rod Blum (R-Iowa). “Although the industry has changed over time, agriculture is still a force pushing America’s economy forward. 41 percent of all land in the United States is used for farming. U.S. agriculture has a 45 billion dollar trade surplus with other countries, and while it may be surprising, over 93 percent of America’s farms are small family farms.”
“In addition to low prices, small family farms have a multitude of other issues to worry about. From high taxes, increasing regulatory burdens, and trouble selling their products internationally, it seems like government bureaucracy is only making it harder to run a small farm,” added Blum, who was chairing his first hearing as the Subcommittee’s new Chairman.
Washington Red Tape Holding Back Small Family Farmers
“Our biggest concern is over-regulation,” testified Tim White, the owner of White Farm LLC in Lexington, Kentucky. “The EPA’s WOTUS Rule is one such example. WOTUS has been a big concern to producers. The overreach in that regulation would require many beef producers to get permits, and comply with those permits, which would be a huge burden. Not to mention it would open us up to citizen lawsuits from litigious activist groups. Producers pride themselves on being good stewards of our country’s natural resources.”
“We maintain open spaces, healthy rangelands, provide wildlife habitat, and feed the world,” added White, who testified on behalf of then National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “But to provide all these important functions, we must be able to operate without excessive federal burdens, like the WOTUS Rule. As a small business owner, I am particularly concerned with the lack of outreach to the small business community by federal agencies such as EPA.
“As a family-owned business, and knowing the detrimental impact this regulation could have on my operation, it is appalling the agencies could assert that it would not have a significant economic impact on small businesses,” said White. “It is clear to me that the rule’s primary impact would do just that. There was no outreach to us in the agriculture community before the rule was proposed. There wasn’t a meaningful dialogue with the small business community as a whole. And because of that, what we got was a WOTUS Rule that doesn’t work for small businesses and doesn’t work for animal agriculture. The positive news is that President Trump signed an Executive Order requiring the EPA to go back and revise the WOTUS Rule so it doesn’t regulate every drop of water in this country.”
Broken Tax Code Also Hurting the Family Farm
“Another way that D.C. is affecting the family farm is through current tax policy,” said Sarah Rickelman, the Manager of Degener-Juhl Farms in Hudson, Iowa. “As Congress looks to reform our nation’s tax policy I hope that lawmakers will consider the impact any change will have on the thousands of family farms across the country. While lowering individual tax rates is a positive reform, family farmers will ultimately pay more taxes if essential tax policies for small businesses are eliminated. “
“Agriculture is a capital-intensive business and being able to deduct business expenses is a critical tool – this should include the ability to deduct interest expenses,” added Rickleman, who testified on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau. “As a young farmer, I’m extremely concerned about the ability of the next generation to purchase their first piece of ground or expand their operation if they can’t deduct interest expense. A tax reform package that doesn’t include these provisions will ultimately increase taxes on family farms. On that same note, I hope Congress will finally and permanently eliminate the death tax while maintaining stepped-up basis. These tax provisions are essential to the survival of the family farm.”
Supporting The Next Generation of Family Farmers
“Obviously, farm income is directed to more things than just supporting the household,” explained Dr. John Lawrence, the Associate Dean and Director for Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Farmers reinvest profits back into the farm operation by purchasing or improving land, machinery and facilities. It may be cash payments or financed purchases with annual loan service payments. The decision between family living expenses and investment in the farm is a balancing act as old as farming itself. If a family farm is going to sustain itself into the future, it must maintain its assets, whether they be physical or in support of the family.”