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Regulatory Burden Reduced for Small Businesses in FY 2017

Office of Advocacy - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 4:36pm

 

Regulatory Burden Reduced for Small Businesses in FY 2017
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Every year, the Office of Advocacy reports on efforts to relieve the burden of new regulations on small businesses. These efforts are the result of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), a tool that requires federal agencies to evaluate the impact of new rules on small businesses and to consider flexible approaches to complying with them.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Bipartisan, Bicameral 7(a) Legislation Unanimously Advances House, Senate Small Business Committees

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Yesterday, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), House Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) applauded the passage of their Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act of 2018 from both the Senate and House small business committees. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will increase the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) oversight authority over the 7(a) loan program and now goes before both bodies for consideration.

“The 7(a) Loan Program remains one of the SBA’s most significant because it fills an important gap for small business owners in need of capital who may be struggling to get it otherwise. Our legislation will allow the SBA to keep a closer watch on the program to make sure it is running effectively, while also continuing to run at a zero cost to taxpayers. The fact that both the House and Senate, and both sides of the aisle, are supporting this legislation is a testament to how critical it is to help the small business owner succeed and grow,” said Chairman Chabot.

“The unanimous passage of this bill from both committees underscores how important the 7(a) program, and the capital it provides, is to our nation’s small business owners,” said Senator Risch. “This bill will ensure SBA has the tools it needs to oversee this growing program, provide lenders with needed clarity, and make sure entrepreneurs and small business owners have access to funds they would otherwise not be able to obtain."

“When it comes to helping entrepreneurs secure reliable capital, the 7(a) program is a linchpin in the small business economy,” said Ranking Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).  “The reforms contained in this bill will help ensure the program operates even better, helping more small firms obtain affordable credit to grow their operations and create jobs. I’m particularly pleased by the provisions in this bill granting SBA flexibility to raise their lending authority cap to avoid the program temporarily going off line when there’s unexpected loan volume.  I especially want to thank Chairman Chabot for his leadership and for working in such a collaborative manner on this bill. I also want to applaud Senators Risch, Shaheen and Cardin for making this process both bipartisan and bicameral.”

“Small businesses are the engine that drives New Hampshire’s economy, and the SBA’s 7(a) loan program plays a critical role in providing those businesses with the resources they need to succeed,” said Shaheen. “I’m pleased by the bipartisan and bicameral support for this bill, and will continue to work across the aisle to push forward legislation that helps Granite State business owners access the capital they need to expand their companies and workforce.”

The Independent Community Bankers of America, which represents nearly 5,700 community banks, praised the Committees’ passage of the 7(a) loan program legislation. In a statement, ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said: “ICBA and the nation’s community bankers thank House and Senate policymakers for promoting a robust and sustainable 7(a) program to help small businesses create jobs and strengthen our economy.”

This bill is additionally supported by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), the American Bankers Association (ABA), the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Consumer Bankers Association.

The 7(a) loan program is a Small Business Administration (SBA) program that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses access credit to start and grow their businesses when they are unable to get a conventional loan. The Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act of 2018 preserves this important loan program by:

• Strengthening SBA’s Office of Credit Risk Management by outlining in statute the responsibilities of the office and the requirements of its director;

• Enhancing SBA’s lender oversight review process, including increasing the office’s enforcement options;

• Requiring SBA to detail its oversight budget and perform a full risk analysis of the program on an annual basis;

• Strengthening SBA’s Credit Elsewhere Test by clarifying the factors that must be considered.

 

Opening Statement of Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Chairman, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Hearing on “Strengthening Access and Accountability to Work in Welfare Programs.”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 12:00am

Good afternoon, and welcome to today’s subcommittee hearing. I’d like to thank our panel of witnesses and our members for joining today’s important discussion on how the inclusion of work requirements within public benefit programs can help beneficiaries return to the workforce and ensure stewardship of public resources.

Since 1996, work requirements have provided families who receive federal assistance the opportunity to grow the skills they need to succeed and eventually reenter the workforce. The ultimate goal of these programs is to help beneficiaries find themselves in a position where they no longer need to rely on federal assistance.

More than 50 million people in the U.S. have participated in major means-tested government assistance programs, and the work requirements associated with many of these programs have allowed many Americans to find a pathway back into the workforce because they gained the ability to be self-sufficient through the process.

One of the most successful programs in this regard has been the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF includes twelve different workforce activities that beneficiaries can participate in to meet the work requirements in order to receive federal assistance.

These include programs such as subsidized private sector employment, skills-based education, job search and job readiness assistance, community service programs, and job-skills education directly related to employment.

It is encouraging to see that these programs cover such a wide variety of opportunities for beneficiaries to get a foot in the workforce door in the hope that one day they will no longer need federal assistance because of the skills they’ve developed.

We have also seen evidence that these types of programs are working to help Americans provide for themselves, their families, and pursue the full extent of the American dream.

Since the creation of this program in 1996, there has been a sharp decline in the number of federal benefit recipients who must complete work requirements as part of their participation in a federal program. Congress needs to be exploring how workforce development opportunities can be integrated into other benefit programs as well.

Right now, we are looking for ways to reform our entitlement system, which is failing certain beneficiaries who feel stuck in the status quo. An important part of this effort is helping people reenter the workforce.

I’m looking forward to hearing from our panel of witnesses today on how we can continue to assist beneficiaries find good-paying jobs and regain their financial independence. I also appreciate our witnesses being flexible with the House schedule. We had to postpone this hearing from a few weeks ago, so thank you for appearing today instead.

To view the PDF version, click here.

# # #

Update: Ninth Circuit Affirms End of Iced-Coffee Serving-Size Class Action

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 2:01pm
Food Court Follies—A WLF Legal Pulse Feature In a September 7, 2016 post, we enthusiastically applauded a Central District of California judge’s decision to dismiss, with prejudice, a truly outrageous lawsuit filed against Starbucks. The plaintiff claimed Starbucks misled him into believing that a 12-ounce iced tea or coffee should contain 12 ounces of liquid, …

Continue reading Update: Ninth Circuit Affirms End of Iced-Coffee Serving-Size Class Action

Categories: Latest News

Committee Announces Hearing to Examine the Takata Air Bag Recalls

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, will convene a hearing titled, “Update on NHTSA and Automaker Efforts to Repair Defective Takata Air Bag Inflators,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. The hearing will examine the steps both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other stakeholders have taken in response to the ongoing Takata air bag inflator recalls.

Witnesses:

Panel 1:

  • Ms. Heidi King, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US Department of Transportation

Panel 2:

  • Mr. John Buretta, Independent Monitor of Takata, And Coordinated Remedy Program
  • Mr. David Kelly, Project Director, Independent Testing Coalition
  • Mr. Joe Perkins, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Key Safety Systems
  • Mr. Rick Schostek, Executive Vice President, Honda North America
  • Ms. Desi Ujkashevic, Global Director, Automotive Safety Office, Ford Motor Company

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Administration Perspectives

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Administration Perspectives,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The hearing will focus on the Administration’s infrastructure proposal, including a discussion of various policy reforms, permitting improvements, and program ideas outlined in the White House’s proposal.

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106 

This hearing will take place in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Common sense will tell you that we need to increase our investment in infrastructure. 

You just have to look out your car window when you’re stuck sitting in rush hour traffic on I-95 in South Florida or I-4 in Orlando to know that we need to do more.  

Our roads, rivers, rails and broadband are vital links to connect communities and businesses.  

But if you look around the country – they are all experiencing the impacts of decline. 

And, it’s only going to get worse.  

In my home state—Florida—the population is growing by nearly one thousand people per day. 

The demands on our infrastructure are going up rapidly, but our investment isn’t keeping pace.  

And we also have unique challenges in Florida to address, such as rising seas, nuisance flooding, and saltwater intrusion which are accelerating damage to roads and pipes. 

So, we need to take action. 

I hope we can start by getting some answers today from our distinguished panel.  It’s not every day that we have five Cabinet members before us. 

My first question is: how are we going to pay for this?  

The president’s plan calls for 200 billion dollars but has no clear way to pay for it.  

At the same time, the administration’s budget cuts critical infrastructure programs.  

We can’t cut our way to prosperity. 

My state knows this all too well as we saw what happened when the governor returned billions of dollars that would have been used to build a new high-speed rail line.  

This was a missed opportunity for Florida. 

Second – should we maintain the federal government’s role as a strong partner to our states and communities or add more toll roads and fare hikes?  

I think the answer should be clear.  

We can’t toll our way out of this problem.  

To address our infrastructure crisis, a few of my colleagues and I put out a plan for how we can invest a trillion dollars to rebuild and modernize our roads, bridges, waterways and broadband networks.  

This is real money and it is completely paid for.  

The plan will make important investments that could help projects around the country and in Florida.  

For example, just to name a few, it could be used to expand I-4, rebuild the Howard Frankland Bridge and expand access to quality and affordable high-speed internet service not only to the underserved in many of our cities, but also the unserved in places like rural Florida. 

It could also be used to upgrade the nation’s aging 9-1-1 system, which Congress should make a priority to keep our citizens safe and enhance public safety.

We need to invest in projects like the ones I just mentioned. 

That’s why I plan to work with Chairman Thune and my colleagues on this committee to try to find the best ideas for how we can invest in our infrastructure. 

I look forward to hearing from the panel on the importance of infrastructure and how the federal government can continue to be a partner.

<p>Good morning.&nbsp; Today, we are

Good morning.  Today, we are here to discuss infrastructure in America. 

In 1956, President Eisenhower and Congress saw the need to move people and goods quickly across the country, and their vision of an interconnected nation paid off – helping to fuel years of economic growth.  The infrastructure built in that era continues to fuel growth today, but now we face the challenge of maintaining and improving these critical assets.  And our infrastructure needs are evolving in ways that would have been impossible to predict just a few decades ago.  For instance, with the rise of the Internet and cell phones, we face the new challenge of building infrastructure to facilitate access to these technologies for everyone.  The principle is the same today as it was then: our nation must stay interconnected.

Unfortunately, we are all familiar with the statistics: the 56,000 structurally deficient bridges; the eight billion hours Americans are stuck in traffic each year; the list goes on.  These statistics mean fewer jobs, less time with family, and lower growth.

In rural states like South Dakota, millions of Americans lack access to reliable high-speed Internet, and aging transportation links between agricultural communities and global markets hurt our farmers and ranchers.

In response to these needs, President Trump released an ambitious proposal to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, by generating $1.5 trillion in total investment over the next ten years. 

The proposal would speed project delivery and lower construction costs, by limiting the permitting process to two years and reforming workforce training programs.

The participation of five cabinet Secretaries at today’s hearing – something that is extraordinarily rare on Capitol Hill – underscores the Administration’s readiness and enthusiasm to work closely with the Commerce Committee and the rest of Congress on infrastructure.  Collectively, we share the goal of developing a bipartisan plan that works for rural and urban areas alike. 

The Committee is joined today by a very distinguished panel: we have Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Transportation; Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce; Alex Acosta, the Secretary of Labor; Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of Agriculture; and Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy.

While the Senate Finance Committee will ultimately have to examine what we can afford and how we pay for it, we at the Commerce Committee first need to get the policy right, and make sure we are moving together with other relevant Committees of jurisdiction.  

As we do so, I’d offer a few principles for the consideration of my colleagues:

First, this is not just another highway bill.  We will consider other infrastructure needs, such as rural broadband and water projects, and seek to break down barriers that are impeding the deployment of all types of infrastructure.  Along these lines, the Administration’s proposal takes a broad approach to infrastructure and offers several policy ideas to speed deployment.

Second, we should build on our successful programs, and where necessary remove inefficiencies.  The Administration’s proposal outlines important reforms to some existing programs, particularly on the infrastructure financing side.

Third, we must ensure any legislation is national in scope and that all areas are appropriately included.  Rural communities face unique difficulties due to lower population densities and challenging geographies.  I appreciate that the Administration’s proposal acknowledges the acute needs in rural communities that lack necessary infrastructure.  Investing in these areas of America will benefit the entire country.

Fortunately, improving our infrastructure is an area where bipartisan agreement should be achievable:

  • Both sides want to invest in and modernize our infrastructure.
  • Both sides want that investment to address an array of infrastructure needs – not only roads and bridges but also needs like broadband and waterways.
  • Both sides want to break down barriers for innovative technologies.
  • Both sides want to make our existing programs work better.

As exemplified by Ranking Member Nelson’s willingness to work with me on infrastructure legislation, both sides can come together on this.  It can happen this year. 

Again, thank you to this distinguished panel of witnesses for being here today.  I look forward to hearing your perspectives and suggestions for collaboration between the Administration and the Congress on infrastructure.  I will now turn to Ranking Member Nelson for his opening statement.

Chabot Hails the Passage of 6 Bipartisan Small Business Bills through Committee

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON— Today, the House Committee on Small Business held a markup to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act. All six bills passed through Committee on bipartisan votes.

H.R. 4743, the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act, introduced by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)

H.R 4743 amends the Small Business Act to strengthen the Office of Credit Risk Management within the Small Business Administration.

“With the popularity and recent growth of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) Loan Program, this bill will ensure the integrity of the program while protecting taxpayer dollars,” said Chairman Chabot.

Passed by voice vote.

H.R. 3170, the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act, introduced by Chairman Chabot

H.R. 3170 amends the Small Business Act to provide cyber certification for Small Business Development Center counselors.

“The ability to withstand a cyberattack in today’s highly technological world is imperative for small businesses. H.R. 3170 is a step in the right direction to ensure that small business owners have access to trained cybersecurity professionals in case they are hacked,” said Chairman Chabot.

Passed by voice vote.

H.R. 4668, the Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act, introduced by Chairman Chabot

H.R. 4668 amends the Small Business Act to provide for the establishment of an enhanced cybersecurity assistance and protections for small businesses.

“The federal government should work hand-in-hand with small businesses on cybersecurity matters,” said Chairman Chabot.This bill aims to increase the defensive measures available for small businesses undergoing or concerned about a cyber attack and to incentivize more information sharing between the private sector and the federal government.”

Passed by voice vote.

H.R. 2655, the Small Business Innovation Protection Act, original cosponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

H.R. 2655 amends the Small Business Act to expand intellectual property education and training for small businesses.

“Small businesses rely on intellectual property rights like patents, trademarks, and copyrights to protect their ideas and products. These essential property protections promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Unfortunately, many small business owners lack the knowledge, expertise, and resources to secure their intellectual property both here at home and abroad,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). “The Small Business Innovation Protection Act will help small businesses leverage existing educational programs to protect their intellectual property from domestic and international harm. I’m proud to support this common sense measure.”

Passed by voice vote.

H.R. 5236, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act, as well as H.R. 5178, the Puerto Rico Small Business Contracting Act, both introduced by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez, also passed the Committee today.

To watch the full committee markup, click here.

###

 

6 Bill Markup

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:00am

The Committee on Small Business will hold a markup of legislation to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act.  The markup will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The items that will be marked up include:

  • H.R. 4743, “Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act of 2018”
  • H.R. 5178, “Puerto Rico Small Business Contracting Assistance Act of 2018”
  • H.R. 3170, “Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2017”
  • H.R. 4668, “Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2017” 
  • H.R. 2655, “Small Business Innovation Protection Act”
  • H.R. 5236, “Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018”
Attachments
1. Markup Notice

Nelson Calls for Robust Federal Funding to Improve Internet Access in Rural Florida

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) on Tuesday called for swift and direct federal investments to help rural Floridians get increased access to quality and affordable internet service.  Nelson, who serves as the top Democrat on the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, made his remarks during a hearing held in Washington that explored the need for federal funding to expand internet service nationwide.

Nelson pointed to rural Florida communities such as Dixie, Gilchrist, and Levy counties as areas where many residents struggle to find or afford quality internet service.

“In those areas, students often lack the ability to complete their homework, small businesses cannot compete and social and political engagement is hampered,” said Nelson. “We have to close this digital divide and leave no area of this country behind.  That’s why I have wanted to include significant direct investments in broadband deployment in any federal infrastructure legislation.”

Today’s hearing is part of a series of discussions underway in the Senate to develop an infrastructure package aimed at fixing and modernizing the nation’s aging roads, bridges, airports, waterways and broadband networks.

Following is a transcript of Nelson’s remarks as prepared and a link to a video of his speech: https://youtu.be/05V0TzKgLsI

 

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Hearing

“Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Investing in Next Generation Broadband”

March 13, 2018

Florida boasts some of the nation’s most advanced broadband networks.  But we have pockets of the state – both in rural areas, such as Dixie, Gilchrist, and Levy counties, and even in some cities –  where citizens have little to no access to quality and affordable internet service. 

In those areas, students often lack the ability to complete their homework, small businesses cannot compete and social and political engagement is hampered. 

We have to close this digital divide and leave no area of this country behind.  That’s why I have wanted to include significant direct investments in broadband deployment in any federal infrastructure legislation.  Because the administration’s proposal is woefully inadequate on this point, it is incumbent on this committee to work together to provide these critical investments.

As I have said in the past, everyone – from those of us in the Senate to our mayors and local officials around the country – want Americans to benefit from the availability of robust broadband. 

Building these networks has always raised a number of very sensitive issues – from historic preservation and environmental concerns to state and local land use policies, tribal sovereignty and national security. 

And the highly anticipated 5G wireless technology brings with it networks that will require installation of much denser wireless infrastructure, made up of many more small cell facilities. 

I remain open to a reasoned discussion about these regulatory issues. 

But, to me, that reasoned discussion cannot begin and end with a wiping away of key laws and regulations meant to protect our fellow citizens and important federal, state, local, and tribal interests – steps that the FCC seems keen to take. 

And that discussion must include fair and fulsome input from all affected parties, including states and localities.  That’s why I am pleased that Mayor Resnick of Wilton Manors, Florida, is here yet again to provide the committee with an important local government perspective and expertise.   

I continue to hope that all stakeholders, including those represented before us today, can work together to help us find ways to effectively balance the competing concerns about siting and construction of broadband facilities and consumers’ increasing demand for fast and reliable broadband services.  I know I will be looking for that sort of balanced approach.

 

<p>Today the Subcommittee will kick off

Today the Subcommittee will kick off a week of hearings in the Commerce Committee on rebuilding America’s infrastructure.  We start here in the Communications Subcommittee with a focus on how to advance broadband deployment in infrastructure legislation this Congress.  I am glad to convene this hearing with my colleague Ranking Member Schatz.

Broadband connectivity is the digital engine driving investment, innovation, and productivity in virtually every economic sector in the United States. Over the past decade, there have been unprecedented advancements in health care, agriculture, transportation, and many other industries because of increasingly ubiquitous broadband connections. These connections are helping industries reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and rapidly identify and act on opportunities for growth.  

Continuing the success of these developments and maintaining the nation’s global leadership in technological innovation are goals that depend on widespread access to a reliable high-speed broadband connection. Although we have made significant progress on wireline, wireless, and satellite broadband deployments, more needs to be done. There is still a disparity in broadband deployment across the country, particularly in rural America. In its 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, the Federal Communications Commission concluded that “far too many Americans remain unable to access high-speed broadband Internet, and we have much work to do.”

To that end, I am greatly encouraged by the President’s support for programs directed toward increasing broadband infrastructure deployment in rural areas.  Today, I hope to discuss with our witnesses how Congress can most effectively and efficiently deploy broadband infrastructure to unserved communities. Using the lessons learned earlier from broadband projects, President Trump’s infrastructure proposal is an opportunity to get broadband to communities that truly need it. 

 

This process should start with collecting standardized and accurate data about where reliable fixed and mobile broadband already exists and where it does not – both in Mississippi and around the country. This is critical to delivering broadband to rural communities that lack service, whether that be through infrastructure legislation or existing federal programs like Phase II of the Mobility Fund. Inaccurate information of where broadband exists will only exacerbate the digital divide and leave millions of rural Americans further behind.

As we seek to close the broadband gap in rural America, we should also plan for the next generation of broadband, such as 5G. The availability of 5G communication networks promises to transform the way we experience the Internet because of the projected capacity, speed, and reliability. To make next-generation broadband a reality and position the United States so it can win the global race to 5G, we should modernize outdated rules that delay and add unnecessary costs to broadband infrastructure deployment. A bipartisan piece of legislation that I introduced called the “Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure,” or SPEED Act, does just that. Inaction on our part will take the next generation of jobs, innovation, and investment out of the United States and put us at an economic disadvantage with respect to our global competitors.

Clearly, as the FCC concluded in its report, there is much work to be done. We are almost one-fifth of the way through the 21st century. We ought to be able to accelerate the deployment of next-generation broadband, get all Americans connected now, and close the digital divide once and for all.

Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Investing in Next Generation Broadband

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, will convene a hearing titled, “Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Investing in Next Generation Broadband,” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The hearing will explore the most effective and efficient ways to address broadband deployment to close the digital divide in an infrastructure package while reviewing the lessons learned from broadband infrastructure projects in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.


Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Gary Resnick, Mayor, City of Wilton Manors, Fla.
  • Mr. Steve Berry, Chief Executive Officer, Competitive Carriers Association
  • Mr. Bob DeBroux, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, TDS Telecom
  • Mr. Brad Gillen, Executive Vice President, CTIA – The Wireless Association
  • Mr. Mike Romano, Senior Vice President for Policy, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Florida boasts some of the nation’s most advanced broadband networks.  But we have pockets of the state – both in rural areas, such as Dixie, Gilchrist, and Levy counties, and even in some cities –  where citizens have little to no access to quality and affordable internet service. 

In those areas, students often lack the ability to complete their homework, small businesses cannot compete and social and political engagement is hampered. 

We have to close this digital divide and leave no area of this country behind.  That’s why I have wanted to include significant direct investments in broadband deployment in any federal infrastructure legislation.  Because the administration’s proposal is woefully inadequate on this point, it is incumbent on this committee to work together to provide these critical investments.

As I have said in the past, everyone – from those of us in the Senate to our mayors and local officials around the country – want Americans to benefit from the availability of robust broadband. 

Building these networks has always raised a number of very sensitive issues – from historic preservation and environmental concerns to state and local land use policies, tribal sovereignty and national security. 

And the highly anticipated 5G wireless technology brings with it networks that will require installation of much denser wireless infrastructure, made up of many more small cell facilities. 

I remain open to a reasoned discussion about these regulatory issues. 

But, to me, that reasoned discussion cannot begin and end with a wiping away of key laws and regulations meant to protect our fellow citizens and important federal, state, local, and tribal interests – steps that the FCC seems keen to take. 

And that discussion must include fair and fulsome input from all affected parties, including states and localities.  That’s why I am pleased that Mayor Resnick of Wilton Manors, Florida, is here yet again to provide the committee with an important local government perspective and expertise.   

I continue to hope that all stakeholders, including those represented before us today, can work together to help us find ways to effectively balance the competing concerns about siting and construction of broadband facilities and consumers’ increasing demand for fast and reliable broadband services.  I know I will be looking for that sort of balanced approach.

Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: State and Local Transportation Needs

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, will convene a hearing titled, “Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: State and Local Transportation Needs,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The hearing will examine opportunities to improve the national transportation network to better connect communities across the country. 

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Kyle Schneweis, Director, Nebraska Department of Transportation
  • Mr. Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Municipal League and Member of the National League of Cities
  • Mr. Jordan Kass, President, Managed Services, TMC Division, C.H. Robinson
  • Ms. Jo Strang, Senior Vice President, Safety and Regulatory Policy, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Update: Despite Previous Judicial Guidance, Misled-by-Maple Class Action Dismissed Again

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:15pm
Food Court Follies—A WLF Legal Pulse Feature Last November, a Food Court Follies series post offered two-cheers for a Central District of California judge’s dismissal of consolidated class actions filed against Quaker Oats (In re Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal Litigation). The two cheers were for properly finding that federal law preempted …

Continue reading Update: Despite Previous Judicial Guidance, Misled-by-Maple Class Action Dismissed Again

Categories: Latest News

Disparities in Access to Capital: What the Federal Government Is Doing to Increase Support For Minority Owned Firms

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Disparities in Access to Capital: What the Federal Government Is Doing to Increase Support For Minority Owned Firms.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, 3 Independent Dr., Jacksonville, FL.

Small businesses owners, particularly women and minorities, face unique challenges when it comes to getting a loan to help them grow and create new jobs. At a time when minority-owned businesses are growing at a faster pace, they still secure financing at much lower levels than many other businesses. Without adequate access to capital, whether microloans, commercial lending, or investment capital, small minority firms cannot compete for government contracts, grow their business, or create jobs in their local communities. The hearing will focus on the challenges they face with Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs, traditional bank loans, private investment capital, and other alternative financing.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Jimmy Van Horn 
Lead Lender Relations Specialist 
United States Small Business Administration
Jacksonville, FL

Ms. Hillary Almond
Owner
Almond Engineering
Jacksonville, FL

Ms. Roslyn Phillips
Vice President
The Hester Group
Jacksonville, FL

Mr. Dane Grey
President
Elite Parking Services of America
Jacksonville, FL


ICYMI: Small Business Optimism Rises to Record Highs

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – This week, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) announced that its small business optimism index rose in February to its second-highest reading in the 45-year history of the monthly survey.

According to the report:

  • Taxes received the fewest votes as the #1 business problem since 2006
  • Reports of improved earnings trends were the highest since 1987
  • Inventory investment was the strongest since 2000, fueling GDP growth
  • Reports of actual capital outlays rose to the highest level since 2004
  • Reports of compensation increases held at the highest level since 2000

For the full NFIB Small Business Optimism Index click here.

Every day we are seeing the positive effects of the historic tax reform package signed into law in December. Our 30 million small businesses are less worried about taxes and more optimistic about the future of their businesses and hiring potential,” said House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). 

In December, Chairman Chabot praised the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts Conference Report.

Five Cabinet Secretaries to Testify at Infrastructure Hearing on March 14

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,today announced an expanded witness list for the full committee hearing, adding Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to the witness list that also includes Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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