Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump signed Chairman Steve Chabot's (R-OH) landmark bill, H.R. 4743, the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act, to increase the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) oversight authority over the 7(a) Loan Program. The bipartisan and bicameral legislation was introduced by House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot, and Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Pictured here, from left to right, is Chairman Jim Risch, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, President Donald J. Trump, and Chairman Steve Chabot.
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
WASHINGTON – This week, the President signed H.R. 2333, the Small Business Investment Opportunity Act, introduced by Contracting and Workforce Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA), to increase the amount of leverage made available to small business investment companies (SBICs).
“No doubt, access to capital remains one of the biggest obstacles for small business owners in growing their companies. Congressman Knight’s bill will allow small businesses to more easily get the financing they need and I thank him for all the hard work he has put into this bill to see it become law,” said Chairman Chabot (R-OH).
“I am very pleased that the Small Business Investment Opportunity Act, has been signed into law. This bill will make improvements to the Small Business Investment Company Program and help ensure that our small businesses have access to the capital they need to flourish and grow. Small businesses are an integral part of our country, and by improving their ability to expand and thrive, we can make the American dream more available for everyone,” said Congressman Knight.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, June 27, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.
Click here for additional information on nominees.
- S. 645, Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine)
- S. 1092, Interstate Transport Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
- S. 1896, TSA LEAP Pay Reform Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
- S. 2941, Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
- S. 3094, Transportation Worker Identification Credential Act of 2018, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
- H.R. 4254, Women in Aerospace Education Act, Sponsors: Reps. Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
- H.R. 4467, Strengthening Aviation Security Act, Sponsor: Rep. Jody B. Hice (R-Ga.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.)
- H.R. 4559, Global Aviation System Security Reform Act, Sponsor: Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas),
- Nomination of Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce
- Nomination of Heidi R. King, of California, to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Nomination of Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
- Nomination of Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
*Agenda subject to change
Executive Session Details:
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room 106
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will meet for a hearing titled, “Accelerating Agriculture: How Federal Regulations Impact America’s Small Farmers.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, June 21, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Complying with federal regulations continues to be one of the biggest challenges for America’s small businesses, including small farmers. Many federal agencies have the authority to issue regulations that impact the agriculture industry. As a result, small farmers often struggle to comply with expensive, confusing, and time-consuming regulations, which impacts their ability to grow. This hearing will examine how federal regulations affect small farmers and explore ways to provide regulatory relief to the industry.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Mr. Craig Martins
Three Rivers FS
* Testifying on behalf of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and GROWMARK, Inc.
Mr. John Weber
Valley Lane Farms Inc.
* Testifying on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council
Mr. Glenn Brunkow
Brush Creek Cattle Company
* Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation
WASHINGTON – Today, President Trump signed into law a bipartisan, bicameral bill led by House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, House Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The bill, the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act, will ensure appropriate oversight of Small Business Administration’s (SBA) flagship loan program and improve access to capital for small business owners. Numerous small business advocacy groups, program participants, and entrepreneurs applauded the bill’s passage and encouraged the President to sign it into law. This bill passed both the House and Senate Committees unanimously, and passed the House and Senate without objection.
Chairman Chabot said: “For many small business owners and entrepreneurs who have been turned down for financing, SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program can make or break their company. It’s the difference between a small business expanding and creating jobs in their community and a business idea that fails to launch. That’s why we need to make sure the program remains intact and continues to serve small business owners as it was intended to do. I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have put into seeing the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act become law but, more importantly, it’s a huge win for small businesses."
“I’m grateful to President Trump for signing this important legislation into law,” said Chairman Risch. “Since the SBA’s 7(a) loan program was enacted, millions of entrepreneurs have used this critical financial lifeline to start or expand their business -- funds they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. Our job in Congress is to make sure these vital programs are being operated effectively and with appropriate oversight to ensure they will be available for future generations of entrepreneurs. The Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act is an example of hard work in a bipartisan and bicameral way to ensure these objectives are met. I’m proud of the work we’ve done on this bill and thank all of my colleagues involved for their efforts.”
“Whether it is a leading edge technology startup in San Francisco, a small bakery in Brooklyn or a mom-and-pop diner in Ohio, all small businesses face a common challenge in securing affordable financing,” said Velázquez. “This program ensures more businesses can access capital to grow, invest in their operations and, ultimately, create jobs. This bill will help yet more entrepreneurs access capital, creating greater economic opportunity. Importantly, I am pleased this bipartisan measure includes a provision allowing the agency flexibility to handle unexpected high demand for loans and guaranteeing there are no interruptions in the flow of capital to small firms. I thank my colleagues for working in such a bipartisan manner in advancing this bill to enactment.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of New Hampshire’s economy, and I am pleased to see our bipartisan legislation to improve the SBA’s 7(a) loan program signed into law,” said Shaheen. “This program provides critical resources and access to credit for Granite Staters who are starting a business, and helps owners who have been in business for years to expand their workforce. I will continue to reach across the aisle to advocate on their behalf so New Hampshire owners can access the capital they need to succeed and grow our state’s economy.”
The 7(a) loan program is a 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, which is now law, preserves the important 7(a) loan program by updating the credit elsewhere test, which is the entry point to the program, increasing oversight of the program and transparency to Congress, and providing flexibility for the Administrator to increase the program’s authorization cap in an emergency. It will ensure the 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.
This bill was widely supported in the small business community, including by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the American Bankers Association (ABA), the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Opening Statement of Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Chairman, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions
Good morning, and welcome to today’s subcommittee hearing. I would like to thank members of the subcommittee and our witnesses for being here today as we examine important and timely topics – current trends in the U.S. labor market, their benefits for American workers, and a review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) labor market economic information and methodologies.
On the first of June, BLS released its May 2018 Employment Situation Report, which detailed the most recent data on U.S. employment. The report found numerous encouraging developments in the American economy and workforce, including improvements to rates of unemployment, job growth, and wage growth.
According to the report, unemployment is down to 3.8 percent — the lowest rate of unemployment in nearly two decades. Since May 2017, the total number of unemployed workers has dropped by 772,000 to 6.1 million people, and there has been a 28.6 percent drop in individuals experiencing long-term unemployment.
As unemployment has fallen, the number of new jobs available across the country has risen. Since February 2017, the month after President Trump was sworn into office, the U.S. economy has added nearly 3 million jobs nationwide. In particular, health care, construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and mining having all experienced particularly robust job growth.
This job upsurge has contributed to one of the most astounding developments yet: for the very first time in BLS reporting history, the number of job seekers – 6.3 million Americans – has been eclipsed by the number of available jobs – 6.7 million job openings nationwide.
We know that in addition to a strong job market, wage growth can help families achieve financial independence and security. According to the report, the workforce has experienced a rise in wages, with average hourly earnings increasing by 71 cents over the last 12-month period. Much of this growth can be attributed to tax reform, as well as efforts by Congress and President Trump to rein in regulatory burdens.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which House Republicans delivered last year and President Trump signed into law in December 2017, has lowered taxes for millions of Americans. Ninety percent of workers are seeing more of their take-home pay thanks to tax reform, and the law has helped to spur powerful economic growth across the country. Strengthening the workforce and adding more jobs to the U.S. economy have been top priorities for House Republicans and the Trump administration, and tax reform has delivered bigger paychecks and greater opportunities to more Americans.
Today’s hearing presents an opportunity to delve into BLS’s most recent information on the U.S. labor market, its recently published data on workers engaging in contingent and alternative forms of work, and to gain a better a understanding of BLS products and data to ensure we, as policymakers, and the public at-large can best utilize this information.
I look forward to hearing from our panel of witnesses and from other members of the subcommittee today as we talk about these developments and ways to promote even greater growth for more American employers and workers.
To view the PDF version, click here.
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Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing today to consider nominees for two critical independent agencies: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Let me start with the nomination of Geoffrey Starks to be a commissioner on the FCC.
Mr. Starks, welcome and congratulations on your nomination.
You will join what I believe to be one of the most important consumer protection agencies at a defining moment in its history.
The current FCC majority has spent the past year and a half abandoning the agency’s statutory authority and responsibilities.
Time and time again, the current FCC majority has turned their backs on consumers.
When they eliminated net neutrality rules and gave up FCC authority to protect consumers online, the FCC majority ignored the critical role that unfettered access to a free and open internet plays in Americans’ lives – and the role that the nation’s expert agency should play.
The FCC is also determined to undercut – and do permanent damage to – the great American tradition of local broadcasting preserved through its media ownership rules.
And these are just two examples of a larger trend.
From preempting state, local and tribal authorities to threatening the future of the Lifeline program that helps make phone and internet service affordable for low-income Americans, this FCC seems determined to fulfill special interest wish lists rather than protect those least able to protect themselves.
Right now, FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel alone is holding the line for consumers and the public interest.
We need to get you confirmed quickly, Mr. Starks, so that you can partner with her to stand up for the public interest instead of powerful special interests and fight against the dismantling of the FCC’s core principles.
Much will be expected of you, Mr. Starks – and I look forward to working with you to meet these challenges.
Also, Mr. Chairman, I have a letter from Senator Schumer in support of Mr. Starks that I would like to put into the record.
I also want to welcome Mr. Peter Feldman, who is well known to us, as a current staffer for Chairman Thune.
I appreciate Mr. Feldman’s past work on mandatory consumer product safety standards.
In Florida during last year’s hurricane season, we lost at least twelve lives due to carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.
We are still gathering statistics, but it is likely that other lives were lost in Puerto Rico from portable generator carbon monoxide deaths.
For years, I have urged the CPSC to adopt a mandatory safety standard for portable generator to stop these senseless deaths.
Unfortunately, the acting chairman of the CPSC continues to defer to portable generator industry on this issue.
Hurricane season is now upon us and more people will die from carbon monoxide poisoning if we don’t address this issue pronto.
So, Mr. Feldman, with your experience in the Senate I really hope you will approach this position with far more openness than the current acting chairman.
So, with that Mr. Chairman, I now look forward to hearing from the nominees.
Good morning. Thank you to our nominees, Peter Feldman and Geoffrey Starks, for being here and for your willingness to serve in the important positions to which you have been nominated.
I would also like to say thank you to the families attending today’s hearing and supporting the nominees. I’d would especially like to recognize Peter Feldman’s father, Clifford Feldman, who is here with us today and just received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal for his work with NASA Television, and its coverage of the 2017 solar eclipse. I also want to wish Peter’s mother, Susan Feldman, a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, she could not be here today, but I know both are extremely proud and supportive of Peter.
Peter Feldman who is a member of my staff, and is well-known to this Committee for his role leading bipartisan efforts in consumer protection, product safety, oversight, and investigations, has been nominated to serve as a Commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Throughout his time as a staffer, Peter has been instrumental in negotiating significant consumer protection, product safety, and sports legislation including: the bipartisan Consumer Review Freedom Act, a bill which prohibits businesses from inserting clauses into their contracts that limit the ability of their customers to criticize products and services online, and the bipartisan Better Online Ticket Sales Act, which prohibits the use of ticket bots, which can distort the market for event ticket sales. Most recently, he worked on the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, which unambiguously charged the U.S. Olympic Committee with the duty to provide a safe environment for sports and athletes as well as authorizing the U.S. Center for Safe Sport.
Not surprisingly, Peter has received support for his nomination from safety advocates and industry stakeholders alike. At an agency that has sometimes been hampered by partisanship, it is my firm belief that if confirmed, Peter’s background and experience on Capitol Hill, where he has shown an ability to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, will be an asset and a force for collaborative solutions at the agency.
Our second nominee, Geoffrey Starks, has been nominated to serve as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Mr. Starks currently serves as assistant bureau chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau where he is responsible for enforcing the Commission’s rules, orders, licensing terms, and conditions. Prior to his tenure at the FCC, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General from 2013 to 2015 where he provided advice to the Deputy Attorney General on domestic and international law enforcement.
If confirmed, Mr. Starks will have a voice on the many critical matters before the Commission. Some, as this Committee knows well, can be contentious. I have long advocated that the hyper-partisanship of the last Commission must come to an end. Mr. Starks, while I understand that not all issues before the FCC can be decided on a bipartisan basis, given the Commission’s role in overseeing regulatory matters that affect our economy and everyday lives, it is important that members of the FCC seek opportunities for common ground and I encourage you to try to do that as often as possible.
Since Chairman Pai has become the chairman of the FCC, he has made a number of important reforms to improve the agency’s processes and transparency, including publicly releasing text of all agenda items in advance of Commission meetings and instituting a process of sharing documents with other commissioners before discussing them publicly. It is my hope that this spirit of openness, transparency, and collaboration at the FCC is continued, and it is my hope that Mr. Starks will embrace this approach if confirmed.
Again, thank you both for your willingness to serve. With that, I turn to the Ranking Member for his opening statement.
U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, to consider two presidential nominees.
Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations
- Mr. Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
- Mr. Peter Aaron Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
*Witness list subject to change.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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.
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Communities That Think Small and Win Big.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This hearing will highlight communities that have developed thriving small business ecosystems. Local officials will analyze key elements of a business-friendly environment and review socioeconomic returns on small business investment within their communities and surrounding regions. Members will have the opportunity to discuss innovative economic development policy strategies and determine best practices.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Mr. Greg Prestemon
President & CEO
EDC Business & Community Partners
St. Charles, MO
Mr. Derek Miller
President & CEO
Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance
Salt Lake City, UT
Mr. Gregg Bishop
NYC Department of Small Business Services
New York, NY
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business heard from a panel of local officials on the way their communities have developed thriving small business ecosystems.
“Every small business ecosystem relies on a delicate balance of support and resources to survive,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “The creation of a healthy ecosystem requires significant investment by all participants: small business owners, support organizations, and policymakers. Policymakers and support organizations, like the ones we have on this panel, have developed innovative strategies, resources, and measurements to ensure local small businesses are thriving.”
What the Experts Said
“We have a simple mission: to help businesses and communities grow,” said Mr. Greg Prestemon, Chief Executive Officer for the Economic Development Council Business & Community Partners in St. Charles County, MO. “We do this through two main flagship programs, both of which are part of the Small Business Administration. We are a certified development company, and thus we offer the 504 Loan program to borrowers throughout the state of Missouri. We have a current portfolio of over 250 loans valued at approximately 115 million.”
“In Utah, the government and the business community work collaboratively and intentionally to create a strong business environment and support our growing small business community,” said Mr. Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance in Salt Lake City, UT. “Additionally, the Governor's office, state legislature and the Salt Lake Chamber are always looking at ways to evaluate and eliminate unnecessary regulations. Utah’s regulatory system is modernized, balanced and transparent so businesses have the confidence they need to hire, invest and innovate.”
“Building an ecosystem around your community’s unique advantages will prove more sustainable and impactful than placing a trend in the middle of your city,” said Ms. Vanessa Wagner, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager at the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development in Ashburn, VA. “One of the most important assets you have in building an entrepreneurial ecosystem is the businesses already there. The companies in your city provide the experience and talent to build the next generation of businesses.”
Good morning, and welcome to today’s subcommittee hearing on occupational licensing. I would like to thank members of the subcommittee and our witnesses for being here today as we discuss licensing and ways that we can encourage states to lift barriers to economic mobility and growth.
Occupational licensing plays an important role in protecting consumers and ensuring high-quality service. In many cases, it makes sense that a professional would be credentialed to operate, like in the case of a doctor performing surgery or a pilot flying a commercial plane. But in other instances, the need for a license is more of a stretch. For instance, if you aspire to be a barber or an interior decorator, there seems to be less of an urgent need for the government to play a role in regulating your career, and yet some government entities have disagreed.
The number of jobs requiring a license has grown dramatically over the last several decades. In the 1950s, only 5 percent of workers were licensed. Since then, an economic shift to the service industry and concerns for consumer protection have led to a steady increase in professions requiring a license to operate. As a result, licensed workers today comprise about quarter of the entire workforce – a five-fold increase.
Because states are responsible for imposing most licensing requirements, the burden of obtaining a license varies widely from state to state. For example, it requires 233 days in New York to obtain a cosmetology license, while it requires 490 days in Iowa. These kinds of delays and inconsistencies have resulted in a confusing and anticompetitive patchwork of regulations, which present a challenge to credentialed workers considering a move across state lines.
Studies show that worker mobility is critical for economic stimulation and wage growth, yet licensed workers are less likely to pursue an opportunity in a different state than their unlicensed counterparts. After factoring in the need to complete new education, undergo state-sanctioned testing, and pay new licensing fees despite their presently-held credentials, many licensed workers ultimately forgo opportunities in different states because the entire regulatory process is just too complicated.
What is more, lower-income workers and consumers bear a disproportionate share of this regulatory burden. Because occupational licenses cost a substantial amount of money up front, many cash-strapped workers may be prevented from entering a field, contributing to the estimated 2.85 million fewer jobs due to these requirements. Licensing can also lead to higher prices for consumers. It’s believed that $203 billion in licensing costs are passed on to consumers each year, which especially impacts lower-income individuals.
When House Republicans delivered on tax reform late last year, it was to give American workers and families more jobs, bigger paychecks, fairer taxes, and greater opportunities. So far, 90 percent of Americans have seen more take-home pay and the U.S. economy is experiencing strong gains as a direct result of tax reform. But some overly burdensome licensing requirements are putting a drag on these outcomes and slowing forward economic momentum.
States should work to strike the right balance of placing licensing safeguards where they are needed, and removing barriers and restrictions wherever appropriate. This has been a bipartisan issue in the past, with the Obama administration issuing best practices to states to minimize the burden of these regulations back in 2015. Hopefully we can continue this bipartisan cooperation to ease the regulatory burden for more working Americans.
I look forward to hearing from our panel of witnesses and from other members of the subcommittee today as we discuss ways to reform our occupational licensing systems to spur economic mobility and growth.
To view the PDF version, click here.
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