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Tech Talks: How SBA Entrepreneurial Development Programs Have Evolved with Technology

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology heard from a panel of entrepreneurial experts on the technological evolution of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Entrepreneurial Development Programs.  Many of these programs have adapted their curricula to reflect the increased reliance on technology small businesses must utilize in order to be more competitive in the market.

As technology has continued to advance, businesses of all sizes have adopted various forms of technology as a way to increase efficiency and decrease costs,” said Subcommittee Chairwoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS).  “And as this reliance on technology has become more prevalent, more and more small businesses have found that an increased use of these technological tools is necessary to allow their businesses to compete and succeed in the market.” 

A Changing Economy Calls for New Strategies

SBA has a range of entrepreneurial development programs throughout the country to help small business owners navigate the complexities of opening their own shop. They include the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs).

“The advent of the internet, email, and cell phones more than a decade ago ensured that all businesses would need to change. I am proud to say that WBCs have adopted new technology for the betterment of the entrepreneurs that rely on us,” said Marsha Bailey, Founder and CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara, CA. “Technology allowing for distance-learning fills a gap in needs in rural areas in particular, where in-person services are simply not an option. Some WBCs have established computer labs, both stationary and mobile, which are particularly important for rural areas where access to broadband is not always available.”

Customers are driving the demand for digital interactions. Among recent Microsoft survey respondents, an equal number wanted in-person and digital experiences including website, email and social media,” added Scott R. Daugherty, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of the North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center in Raleigh, NC. “As companies move toward digital engagement, clients become accustomed to the fast response and it becomes an expectation.”

Technology is not new to SCORE, but its constant evolution presents a powerful opportunity for SCORE to continue to serve our clients when and how they want to be served. For this reason, SCORE has successfully integrated technology into every aspect of our business practices,” said Bridget Weston Pollack, Vice President of Marketing and Communications with the SCORE Association in Herndon, VA.In addition to technology-focused mentoring, SCORE regularly develops and shares the best and most current technology resources and educational materials via our website and distribution channels.”

VBOCs primary mission is to conduct entrepreneurial development training dealing specifically with the key issues of self-employment, meaning owning and succeeding in a business of their own,” said Brent Peacock, Director at the Veterans Business Outreach Center at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, FL. “Thanks to the rapid pace of technology an online learning, we can Skype, use webinars, and employ online resources to help dozens of clients in a day. Technology has made a significant impact on our productivity and effectiveness as a government funded entity.”

You can view the full video of today’s hearing HERE and read the full witness testimony HERE.

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Chairman Chabot Sends Letter In Support of Save Local Business Act

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – This week, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) sent a letter to two House Education and the Workforce Subcommittees in support of H.R. 3441, the “Save Local Business Act,” of which he is an original co-sponsor. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expanded its definition of the joint employer standard in 2015, creating confusing and new challenges for small businesses that want to work with other small and large firms to expand their companies.  

Small businesses have been hurting under this rule for the last two years and it’s time we put an end to it. Under the new standard, a potential small business owner may avoid buying a franchise because of the risk of being punished for the actions of a franchiser. It has also created a lot of confusion and unnecessary challenges for job creators that just want to grow their companies,” said Chairman Chabot.This legislation will restore certainty to America’s small business owners and their employees so that they can continue to operate their businesses locally and independently.”

As Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, Chairman Chabot has heard firsthand how the new joint employer standard threatens small businesses. The Committee held a roundtable in April 2015 and in March 2016 held a hearing on the issue titled, “Risky Business: Effects of new Joint Employer Standards for Small Firms” to examine how the expanded rule impacted small businesses. 

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Committee Announces Legislative Hearing: S. 1693, The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a legislative hearing titled “S.1693, The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017”

Thune Statement on 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on today’s announcement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games will return to the United States for the first time in 32 years:

“I would like to congratulate the city of Los Angeles and the United States Olympic Committee for their hard work that led the International Olympic Committee to award one of our great U.S. cities the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Thune. “It is an incredible opportunity to have the Games on home soil again, and I look forward to seeing our national Olympic committee and Los Angeles work together to deliver a unique and innovative event fulfilling their promise of hosting a New Games for a New Era.”

The Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over sports, including the federally-chartered United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

<p>Thank you to the Chairman for

Thank you to the Chairman for calling this important hearing.

I’m in this seat today because Sen. Nelson is back home in his great state of Florida, helping to begin the long recovery effort after the devastating Hurricane Irma, and our thoughts are certainly with him and his constituents this morning.

As the Chairman mentioned, last Friday he and I released a discussion draft of our self-driving car legislation, which is a result of months of collaborative effort, countless meetings with stakeholders across the spectrum of interests, and further bipartisan work with Senator Nelson.

I want to thank Chairman Thune and his staff for the long hours and effort that have gone into our bipartisan draft.

This legislation will provide the first-ever changes in federal law targeted at ushering in a new era in mobility and transportation innovation.

The bill will facilitate the safe development and adoption of self-driving cars, reduce existing regulatory barriers, and establish a new regulatory framework to support this innovation going forward.

Importantly, it will also ensure that the United States leads the international race to deploy these new technologies. We must develop and build them here, creating new 21st century manufacturing jobs in the United States. 

For the remainder of this month, we will work diligently to resolve and finalize the outstanding issues in this draft legislation – including the topic of today’s hearing – whether highly-automated trucks and buses should be part of this particular legislation, or addressed in a separate bill.

I will note that while gathering feedback on Chairman Thune’s and my draft legislation, many stakeholders were clear that the prospect of self-driving trucks raises a very different set of issues from self-driving cars. And – ultimately – those same stakeholders expressed serious concerns with including self-driving trucks in this bill without a much more robust discussion and evaluation of their impact by industry, academia, and government.

I will also note that our draft legislation was informed by two Commerce Committee hearings – in March 2016 and June 2017 – and two iterations of NHTSA’s Federal Automated Vehicle Policy. All of which were focused on highly-automated light-weight, passenger cars – not trucks.

And finally, I will note that the House recently passed its self-driving vehicle legislation unanimously, without the inclusion of self-driving trucks weighing over 10,001 pounds.

It is indisputable that the trucking industry is critically important to our economy and to our day-to-day consumer needs, delivering more than 10 billion tons of freight-per-year and employing more than 3 million Americans as truck drivers.

The same can be said of the bus industry, which provides important transportation options for many Americans and creates thousands of jobs.   

Major changes to these industries brought on by high levels of automation will have major impacts on jobs, transportation and the economy – not to mention roadway safety.

And we need to make sure that when we do establish a regulatory framework for self-driving trucks – we get it right after having considered all of the implications.

For example, we need to be able to answer fundamental questions like, what is the trucking industry’s timeline for deployment of highly-automated trucks?

  • Will the industry deploy levels 4 or 5 automated trucks, or will it stick to lower levels of automation?
  • What specific federal motor vehicle safety standards will highly-automated trucks need exemptions from?
  • Do the unique characteristics of the trucking industry require additional safeguards for highly-automated trucks, particularly for safety and cybersecurity issues?
  • How will changes to the vehicle safety standards impact operations and enforcement?  And should we be considering those impacts now?
  • What are the job impacts of highly-automated trucks and what are the industry’s plans for retraining or reassigning the drivers who are in danger of being out of work?

But in our discussions to date, we have not gotten as clear of an understanding on issues related to self-driving trucks as we have during our countless discussions on self-driving cars. As a result, I am of the mind that highly-automated trucks are not ripe for inclusion in this bill.

Before I close, I want to be clear that improving safety on our highways is critically important to me. It is one of the reasons why advancing this self-driving car legislation is so important to me. And I recognize that in the long-term, self-driving trucks and buses are also intended to improve safety on our highways. That is certainly clear. But I question assertions that excluding self-driving trucks from this particular bill will result in less safe roads and that they don’t merit special considerations going forward. We cannot allow such premature conclusions to stand in this Committee’s way of talking specifics – and getting the answers we need to have a more complete understanding of the safety, workforce, and policy implications of highly-automated trucks.

I want to thank all of the witnesses for being here today and for helping to start the conversation on this very important topic. I look forward to your testimony.

<p>Good morning.&nbsp; This committee

Good morning.  This committee has been working in a bipartisan fashion to address the advancement of automated vehicles.  I would especially like to thank Senator Peters for partnering with me in this effort.  I also appreciate the contributions of Ranking Member Nelson, who is unfortunately unable to join us today due to the ongoing relief efforts in Florida following Hurricane Irma. 

We’ve put a lot of work into this effort to date, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to introduce and pass bipartisan legislation.

Given this Committee’s broad jurisdiction over transportation, interstate commerce, and vehicle safety, we are well-positioned to oversee and address the emergence of this transformative technology.  Beginning last Congress, we’ve held two hearings and hosted a demonstration of this technology for Committee Members.  With today’s hearing we will take a closer look at the promise and implications of the technology for trucks and larger vehicles.

Automated vehicle technology holds great promise to transform transportation in this country—expanding mobility, reducing traffic congestion and related emissions, and increasing productivity, among other benefits.  But the most exciting aspect of this transformative advancement is the potential to save thousands of lives every year on our nation’s roadways.

In 2015, more than 35,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States.  With more than 90 percent of those deaths are attributable to human error, automated vehicles have the potential to reduce these tragic numbers dramatically.  Too many lives are lost on our roads, and I look forward to hearing from Ms. Hersman about how automated vehicles—including trucks—can help to reduce this number.

Trucks share our roads, deliver our goods, and keep our economy moving.  Including trucks in the conversation about automated vehicles is important as we seek to improve safety; it also puts our economy on a level playing field as other countries around the world deploy automated freight trucks. 

In 2015, trucks traveled over 280 billion miles to carry over 70 percent of the goods by tonnage on our roadways.  A 2017 Energy Information Administration study projected that automated trucks could yield fuel savings between 6.7 and 18.6 percent, improving our economic competitiveness, lowering consumer prices, and supporting job growth.  I am glad that Mr. Spear has joined us today to speak to the impacts of trucking on our economy and the role of automated trucks in the future of transportation innovation.

Testing and development is already ongoing as companies in the U.S. have increasingly explored the potential benefits of automated trucks.  Companies like Uber, Tesla, Google, Embark, Starsky, and others have invested in automated truck technology.  Truck manufactures like Navistar are actively pursuing automated technologies in trucks.  Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol, who joins us today, has seen this technology firsthand.  Last year, he participated in a test of Otto, now Uber’s truck startup, which drove 120 miles on Interstate 25 in Colorado. 

As other countries devote significant attention and effort to stimulating innovation in this area, strong federal leadership will be necessary to maintain our position as a global leader and ensure these vehicles are tested and deployed safely.

Just yesterday, Secretary Chao announced the Department of Transportation has updated its policy guidance on automated vehicles.  I am pleased to see action from the administration on this transformative technology.  DOT’s new guidance improves upon similar efforts by the prior administration, and takes the same position regarding the inclusion of all motor vehicles—both cars and trucks, from light to heavy duty—under the same regulatory framework. 

And, though their approaches differ, states that have passed automated vehicle legislation similarly cover all motor vehicles – cars and trucks.  In doing so, they have recognized the need to address automated motor vehicles cohesively, without leaving out certain vehicle classes.

Of course, it’s important to consider all impacts of this new technology.  It is crucial that we hear about the potential impact on jobs, and engage in a clear-eyed discussion about how to best prepare for the future.  So, I am glad that Mr. Hall was able to join us today. 

There are over 3 million commercial drivers in the U.S., and they are the backbone of the economy.  Technological advancements have the potential to affect them in different ways—including in positive ways.  Technology should make a driver’s life easier and safer, which in turn will improve the rest of our transportation system and those who use it every day 

Automation will bring many benefits and many challenges, but they are not entirely new challenges.  As former President Johnson said in response to the challenges of automation during his term, “Automation is not our enemy…Automation can be the ally of our prosperity if we will just look ahead, if we will understand what is to come, and if we will set our course wisely after proper planning for the future.”  I’m glad we are continuing that discussion today. 

I look forward to hearing from all of our witnesses as we move forward with legislation to address automated vehicles.  

Now, I turn to Senator Peters for his opening remarks. 

Serving Small Businesses: Examining the Effectiveness of HUBZone Reforms

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:00am



The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Serving Small Businesses: Examining the Effectiveness of HUBZone Reforms.” The hearing will take place at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The hearing will examine legislation updating the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Program, which seeks to provide federal contracting opportunities to small businesses in economically distressed areas of the country. H.R. 3294 is a bipartisan, comprehensive HUBZone reform bill designed to address concerns brought by small businesses as well as the Government Accountability Office

Documents
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Ms. Shirley Bailey
Co-Owner-Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
GCC Technologies 
LLC Oakland, MD
*Testifying on behalf of the HUBZone Contractors National Council

Mr. Robert A. Schuerger, II
Principal and Attorney at Law
Law Offices of Robert A. Schuerger Co., LPA,
Columbus, OH 




Transportation Innovation: Automated Trucks and Our Nation's Highways

Click to view livestream. Note: livestream is not compatible with Google Chrome.

Serving Small Businesses: Examining the Effectiveness of HUBZone Reforms

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Small Business Committee heard from small businesses within the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program. Specifically, the Committee heard testimony on H.R. 3294, the “HUBZone Unification and Business Stability Act,” introduced by Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

The program’s core mission is to bring economic hope, independence, jobs, and businesses to depressed areas marked by high unemployment and poverty.  This is accomplished through the use of federal contracting preferences.  H.R. 3294 helps the program achieve its mission objectives by providing legislative solutions to the challenges and weaknesses identified by small businesses and government watchdogs,” said Chairman Steve Chabot.

Because HUBZone area determinations frequently change, as often as annually and potentially several times per year, small businesses are unable to anticipate shifts in HUBZone area designations and do not know when they will occur.

The uncertainty resulting from the annual designation updates not only impacts HUBZone companies, it negatively impacts the economic stability of the communities in which the company and employees reside. I am pleased to see that the Committee has taken steps to address this issue and others in H.R. 3294,” said Shirley Bailey, President and Board Chair of the HUBZone Contractors National Council in Washington, D.C.

In my view, H.R. 3294 provides much needed stability to companies like mine. Clinton County, home of Wilmington, will lose its HUBZone designation in 2018. I certainly favor the approach in H.R. 3294 which freezes the current HUBZone eligibility maps until 2020. It would provide us with the transition time our firm needs while we decide how to keep our valued employees and finding a new office,” said Robert A. Schuerger, II, Principal and Attorney at Law at the Law Offices of Robert A. Schuerger Co., LPA in Columbus, OH.

So my message to you echoes what we have heard from my fellow HUBZone firms. We need you to give HUBZone firms stability by extending the re-designation period as you have in HR 3294. This bill, which was introduced by both the Ranking Member and the Chairman, if enacted now, will freeze the HUBZone map until 2020 and then only be changed every 5 years. This will give communities and their businesses time to build resources to compete in a post HUBZone environment,” said Dennis DuFour, President of TDEC in Oakland, MD.

Wovenware is a perfect example of a company that would greatly benefit from revisions to the current HUBZone program. Not only do we have the expertise, experience and drive to provide needed technology services that rival or exceed the capabilities of other U.S. companies, but securing more federal contracts would enable us to organically grow our business, employ more local workers and contribute to the revitalization of the economy in Puerto Rico,” said Carlos Melendez, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Wovenware in San Juan, P.R.

You can view the full video of today’s hearing HERE and read the full witness testimony HERE.

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Opening Statement by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL): Hearing on H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 12:00am

To most Americans, the question over who their employer is seems to be an obvious answer. It’s the person who hired them, the one who signs their paycheck.

As a former labor attorney, I can tell you it used to be very clear in legal terms how you become someone’s employer. But that’s no longer the case since the National Labor Relations Board stepped in.

Many people would be shocked to find out that some company they’ve had zero contact with is also considered their employer, in addition to the employer that actually hired them.

Now, we all agree there are times when two or more employers should be deemed “joint employers.” Before the NLRB overstepped, there was a commonsense understanding of the circumstances establishing that joint employer relationship. Both employers had to have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over essential terms and conditions of employment.

This standard made sense. But today, business owners and their employees face a standard vastly different, and far more confusing. They face a situation where a group of unelected bureaucrats in Washington are interfering with their relationship in a way that has created a lot of problems.

The NLRB’s decision and the Obama administration’s actions that followed, in addition to a litany of rulings by activist judges, have inserted a great deal of uncertainty and confusion into the traditional employer-employee relationship. Two completely separate employers can be considered joint employers if they made a business agreement that “indirectly” or “potentially” impacts their employees.

What does that even mean? It’s vague and confusing. Think of it from the employee’s standpoint. There shouldn’t be any room for question on who their employer is.

As for employers, they should have the clarity they need to look out for their employees in the way the law requires. Because in order for employees to have strong protections in the workplace, it needs to be crystal clear who is responsible for providing those protections.

We are here today because we are determined to provide that clarity once and for all and protect jobs and small businesses in our communities. I’m proud to say three of our Democrat colleagues, Representatives Correa, Cuellar, and Peterson, are cosponsors of the Save Local Business Act, and we hope to continue to build bipartisan support so we can restore commonsense to the joint employer issue.

This is an issue of great importance to both of our workforce subcommittees, which is why this critical legislation has been a joint effort with my colleague, Mr. Walberg. Chairwoman Foxx has made the Save Local Business Act a top priority for the full committee, and this hearing will bring us one step closer to moving it through the legislative process.

To read PDF version, click here.

 

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Opening Statement by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): Hearing on H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 12:00am

This committee has been fighting to roll back the extreme joint employer scheme since it first took effect, and for good reason. It’s a threat to jobs, entrepreneurship, and local employers across the country.

We know this new joint employer standard has led to a whole host of real-world consequences, because that’s exactly what we’ve heard from business owners and their employees in each of our districts and before this committee.

We’ve all heard the voices of local job creators who fear they could lose control of their businesses to larger companies. One small business owner, who described himself as the “living definition of the American Dream,” warned the committee that he would “virtually overnight become a manager for a large company.”

We’ve also heard how this new standard has made it harder for small businesses to grow and create jobs in their communities. Kristie Arslan, the owner of a small gourmet popcorn shop, said she was considering opening five new locations through franchising, but the joint employer threat made her expansion plans too risky. She decided she could only open one new store instead of five.

This is just one concerning example of lost jobs and opportunity. So many hardworking entrepreneurs, who took a risk to start their own business, now find themselves in a sea of uncertainty. And it’s not just those in the franchising industry. Many small businesses and local vendors rely on contracts with larger companies, and they are concerned those contracts could soon be harder to come by.

According to the American Action Forum, the joint employer scheme threatens 1.7 million jobs. To protect those jobs, we have to restore a commonsense definition of what it means to be an employer.

I’d like to remind some of our critics that the Save Local Business Act reflects the same straight- forward joint employer test that workers and job creators relied on for decades.

To be someone’s employer, it makes perfect sense that you need to have “actual, direct, and immediate control” over terms and conditions of employment. This clear test does nothing to let employers off the hook for their obligations to their employees. What it does is ensure the actual employer is the one held responsible. And that’s the way it should be.

It’s time to settle once and for all what constitutes a joint employer — not through arbitrary and misguided NLRB decisions and rulings by activist judges — but through legislation. This is obviously an area of labor law that is in desperate need of clarity.

As recognized by at least three of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, this isn’t a Democrat versus Republican issue. The Save Local Business Act is about providing certainty for job creators in each and every one of our districts. It’s about keeping the American Dream within reach.

To read the PDF version, click here.

 


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Thune Announces Key Committee Staff Changes

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced two promotions and one new addition to the committee staff.

Court Ruling in Pharma Case Calls into Question Consumer Expectations Test’s Use in Asbestos Suits

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:18am
Featured Expert Contributor, Mass Torts—Asbestos Robert H. Wright, a Partner with Horvitz & Levy LLP in Los Angeles, CA A recent appellate decision rejecting the consumer expectations test for strict liability in a pharmaceutical case calls into question the use of that same test in cases involving low-dose exposures to asbestos.  Trejo v. Johnson & […]
Categories: Latest News

Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The hearing is the third of the series and will focus on the perspectives of commercial, charter, and recreational fishermen on the state of our nation’s fishery laws.

Witnesses:

Panel I
-  Phil Faulkner, President,  Nautic Star Boats
-  Jim Donofrio, Executive Director, Recreational Fishing Alliance
-  Chris Horton, Senior Director, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

Panel II
-  Lori Steele, Executive Director, West Coast Seafood Processors Association
-  Capt. Robert F. Zales, II, President, National Association of Charterboat Operators
-  Greg DiDomenico, Executive Director, Garden State Seafood Association

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details: 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard

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.

Chairman Chabot Sends Letter to Equifax CEO Requesting Information on Data Breach

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement after sending a letter to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Equifax, Richard Smith, following the data breach that potentially affected 143 million Americans:

With more than 140 million Americans’ personal information at stake, my hope is that Equifax responds quickly to our concerns on the data breach. We need to ensure that we minimize the damage inflicted upon everyone, but for us particularly, the small business community,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. 

In the letter, Chairman Chabot stated:

“The compromised information includes, at a minimum, names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses, as well as credit card numbers for over 200,000 consumers.”

In light of its concerns, the Committee requested the following information as soon as possible, but by no later than noon on Tuesday, September 26, 2017:

1. How many small businesses/owners are affected by the data security breach?

2. Who is responsible for the data breach, how did the perpetrators penetrate Equifax’s cyber defenses, and, specifically, what information was compromised?

3. What effort is Equifax making to assist its customers who own small businesses in securing their personal information and preventing future fraudulent activity as a result of this cyber breach?

4. What steps is Equifax taking to ensure the small business owners impacted by the data breach will not be adversely effected when applying for credited to start or expand their business operations?

The full letter can be read HERE.

Earlier this week, the House Small Business Committee sent a separate letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging action on the data breach.

ICYMI – SBC Vice Chairman Luetkemeyer Pens Op-Ed About Cutting Red Tape for Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Recently, Vice Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) wrote an op-ed in the News Tribune in Jefferson City, MO about the House Small Business Committee hearing titled, “How Streamlining Federal Permitting Can Cut Red Tape for Small Business.”  The hearing examined how federal permitting requirements burden small businesses and ways to streamline the process. 

As many of you know, before a business can begin a construction project it is required to obtain a myriad of permits from the federal government. The federal permitting system is a complex and costly regulatory network, particularly in the construction industry,” stated Vice Chairman Luetkemeyer

The National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are just a few examples that place undue burdens on small businesses through the permitting process. Often times these laws produce unnecessary and duplicative regulations with multiple government agencies regulating the same actions,” added Luetkemeyer.

To read Vice Chairman Luetkemeyer’s full op-ed, click HERE.

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Chairman Chabot Sends Letter to Federal Trade Commissioner Urging Action on the Equifax Data Breach

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:00am
WASHINGTON – This week, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement after sending a letter to the Honorable Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), about the Equifax data breach affecting 143 million Americans’ personal information:

The Equifax data breach is a disturbing reminder that there are cyber security threats that span the grid.  From the Department of Defense, to Fortune 500 companies, to the smallest mom and pop shop in your neighborhood, these threats and breaches must be taken seriously in an ever-increasingly connected economy,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. 

In the letter, Chairman Chabot stated:

“The compromised information includes, at a minimum, names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses, as well as credit card numbers for over 200,000 consumers.  The Committee has concerns regarding the cyber incident’s impact on America’s small business community.”

 The Committee called for answers to the following questions by no later than September 25, 2017: 

1. How many small businesses/owners are affected by the data security breach?

2. What steps is the FTC taking to assist its customers who own small businesses to secure their personal information and prevent future fraudulent activity as a result of this cyber breach?

3. What steps is the FTC taking to ensure that small business owners impacted by the data breach will not be adversely affected when applying for credit to start or expand their business operations?

4. What is the current status of the FTC’s engagement with Equifax, and how is the FTC working with Equifax to ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect the personal information of Equifax’s customers?

5. What effort, if any, is the FTC making to encourage TransUnion and Experian to take necessary precautions to prevent future attacks?

The full letter can be read HERE.

ICYMI: Foxx Celebrates 25 Years of Charter Schools

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:00am

 Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce spoke on the House floor to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the nation’s first charter school, and praised the hope an opportunity charter schools across the country provide for students and families.

Click here to watch.

 “Mr. Speaker, twenty-five years ago something monumental occurred for students and families who were seeking a new way to pursue a high-quality education.

“Twenty-five years ago, our nation’s first charter school, the City Academy, opened its doors in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“City Academy began a new era for school choice, and provided families with an alternative option to the traditional public school system.

“Today, over 3 million students are enrolled in charter schools, and more than 6,800 have opened in over 40 states.

“Charter schools are not only growing as an option for students, but these schools are also getting results.

“Innovative charter schools are providing thousands of students and families with the hope and opportunity that they can receive a high-quality education, and gain the skills they need to succeed for the future.

“I congratulate City Academy for being a true pioneer in school choice twenty-five years ago, and support the expansion of school choice for American students and families.”

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Commerce Committee Seeks Answers on Equifax Data Breach

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who serve as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today sent a letter to the chief executive of Equifax Inc. following news that the company had identified a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers.

Excerpt from the letter to Equifax Inc.:

“This announcement raises a number of concerns given the sensitivity of the personal data implicated and, consequently, the severity of risk consumers may face.  As one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States, Equifax collects highly-sensitive information on American consumers.  The company maintains that its investigation uncovered “no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.”  Nevertheless, the nature of the information that appears to have been compromised, together with the number of potentially-impacted consumers, requires that we regard this incident as a major data security breach.”

The full letter to Equifax Inc. may be viewed here. The Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security have jurisdiction over consumer protection and cybersecurity.

Chairman Chabot Introduces Legislation to Update the Tax Code for Nation’s Innovators

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Today, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced H.R. 3717, the Small Business Owners’ Tax Simplification Act, to create more clarity within the tax code and allow small business owners to both offer and participate in cafeteria plans. Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) is an original co-sponsor of this bill.

“Thanks to the innovation of today’s small business owners, we can now order food or catch a ride from our phone. Unfortunately, though, our current tax code has not kept pace with today’s innovators,” said Chairman Chabot.

“Issues such as a whether a worker is considered an employee or contractor still need to be addressed and updated. Additionally, small business owners should be allowed to participate in Health Savings Accounts and pension plans offered to their employees to best meet the needs of their company. Whether a small business is offering a ride, making a delivery, or manufacturing new technology, it’s time we fixed the inequalities they face within our tax code,” Chabot concluded.

 “Our tax code no longer works for small businesses and is too outdated to keep up with the needs of a new generation of entrepreneurs in the sharing economy. Over 3 million people earn income as microentrepreneurs through the sharing economy. But, because the tax code has not been updated since 1986, it creates complexities that serve to stifle their efforts and burden them with additional costs,” said Ranking Member Velázquez

“These are not the only policies creating inequities for small employers. From reporting deadlines and filing thresholds to health and benefit plan parity for the self-employed, small business owners need a better tax code. I am pleased that the Chairman and I could come together to draft a bipartisan tax package to address the tax needs of small firms in every industry,” Velázquez added.

The Small Business Committee has held several hearings on reforming the tax code as well as the need to expand cafeteria plans.  

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