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Rhett Davis Appointed Small Business Advocate for Region 6

Office of Advocacy - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 11:20am

 

Rhett Davis Appointed Small Business Advocate for Region 6

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rhett Davis has been named small business advocate for Region 6, representing the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

In his role, Davis will be the direct link between the region’s small business owners, state and local government agencies, state legislators, small business associations and the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

<p>The Committee on Small Business

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access will meet for a hearing titled, “Financing Through Fintech: Online Lending’s Role in Improving Small Business Capital Access.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The hearing will provide the Subcommittee with an opportunity to examine recent trends in how small businesses obtain capital, the different business models in the industry, and how online lending fits into the overall lending landscape.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List


Witnesses
Mr. William Phelan
President and Co-Founder
PayNet, Inc.
Skokie, IL
Testimony
Disclosure 

Ms. Katherine Fisher
Partner
Hudson Cook
Hanover, MD
Testimony
Disclosure 

Financing Through Fintech: Private Sector Solutions in Improving Small Business Capital Access

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access heard from a group of financial technology (fintech) leaders on online lending’s role in improving small business capital access.

The amount of community banks in the United States has fallen dramatically in recent years, and regulations such as Dodd-Frank have made it more difficult for small businesses to acquire loans through traditional means,” said Subcommittee Chairman Dave Brat (R-VA).  “One private sector solution that has grown considerably in recent years to address this credit gap is online lending.

Small Businesses Need Choices

While it is difficult to evaluate the size of the fintech industry, online lenders estimated that they lent between $5 and $7 billion loans to small businesses in 2015. The industry is expected to become a $50 billion dollar industry by 2020.

Fintechs have provided three critical benefits to the supply of credit to small businesses,” said William Phelan, President and Co-Founder of PayNet, Inc. in Skokie, IL. “First, they have figured out technology platforms to lower the cost of processing a credit application; second, they have changed the expectations among small businesses for access to and speed for working capital credit; third, they are filling the credit gap faced by small businesses across the credit spectrum and industry sectors.”                                                                                     

Fintech lending includes non-traditional lending that directly addresses some concerns of small businesses by providing faster access to capital than traditional lending,” said Katherine Fisher, Partner at Hudson Cook, LLP in Hanover, MD. “Technology has allowed lenders to automate the lending process, leading to a less burdensome application process. The existence of fintech lenders provides small businesses with the ability to quickly obtain capital needed for immediate operations.” 


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SBC Sends Letter To Ways & Means Requesting Consideration of H.R. 3717

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – This week, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) sent a letter with Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) requesting the Committee consider H.R. 3717, the Small Business Owners’ Tax Simplification Act. H.R. 3717 would update the tax code for small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs.

In the letter, Chairman Chabot and Ranking Member Velázquez stated:

“The outsized role small businesses have on the economy cannot be disputed.  They are the country’s job creators, they are our nation’s innovators, and they are transforming communities from coast to coast.  However, the tax code continues to disproportionately impact the smallest firms, which often do not employ armies of experts to handle and calculate their taxes.  Moreover, the tax code has simply not kept pace with today’s technology-focused companies that are altering how businesses reach and interact with customers.”

“As the Committee on Ways and Means discusses tax reform, we request that you consider the role small businesses have on our economy, along with the provisions outlined in H.R. 3717.  In addition to the priority of cutting tax rates for small firms, this bill offers practical and common sense ideas that will truly impact every small company.  It addresses the feedback our Committee has heard again and again – to simplify and streamline the tax code. At the end of the day, when small businesses are growing and expanding, so does the American economy.”

The Committee held a hearing on October 4, 2017 to hear from private sector witnesses on H.R. 3717. They have also received numerous letters of support from groups within the sharing economy expressing how the legislation would benefit current companies and the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The full letter can be read HERE.

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Committee Announces Two Nomination Hearings for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1

Hearings include nominees for key transportation, commerce, and space leadership roles...

Statement on Presidential Directive Expanding Commercial Drone Use Opportunities

"This new policy directive provides sensible direction that promotes drone safety, innovation, and local input," said Thune. "Federal management of air operations has underpinned a long history of steady safety improvements in our skies. This presidential memorandum is another step in the right direction. I applaud the leadership behind this new effort, which will influence the policy discussions underway in Congress and among regulators."

The Commercial Satellite Industry: What’s Up and What’s on the Horizon

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “The Commercial Satellite Industry: What’s Up and What’s on the Horizon,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. The hearing will examine commercial satellite services and next-generation satellite services affecting consumers.

Witnesses:

  -  Ms. Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, SpaceX
  -  Mr. Mark Dankberg, Chief Executive Officer, ViaSat
  -  Mr. Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat
  -  Mr. Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman, OneWeb

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
10:00 a.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

GAO Audit Reveals Half-Measures Taken by Small Business Advocates

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:00am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce will meet for a hearing titled, “GAO Audit Reveals Half-Measures Taken by Small Business Advocates.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The hearing will review a comprehensive audit of the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The GAO report examines compliance with select Small Business Act section 15(k) requirements by the OSDBU across 24 federal agencies.  


Documents 

1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses

Mr. William B. Shear
Director
Financial Markets and Community Investment
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC
Testimony

Mr. Robb N. Wong
Associate Administrator
Office of Government Contracting and Business Development
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC
Testimony

Mr. Kevin Boshears
Director
Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC
Testimony 

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Communications satellites are essential links in our globally connected world.  They bounce television signals all over the planet and provide voice communications and internet access in remote areas.  And in a sign of satellites’ resiliency and reliabilty, first responders and others in disaster areas – like Florida after Hurricane Irma and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria – rely on satellite systems as their lifeline when other communication systems are down.

The next generation of satellite-based communications systems holds even more promise.  Large constellations of satellites may provide broadband communications that rival their terrestrial counterparts and make access to affordable broadband internet a reality in the rural areas that terrestrial networks don’t reach.  Other constellations promise imaging services that could advance key Earth and climate science initiatives.  And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. 

Much of this new interest and investment in space is coming from the private sector.  In fact, some have begun to call this the second great Space Age.  And, as it was for the first great Space Age, an epicenter is once again forming on the Space Coast of Florida.  As I have said before – as goes Cape Canaveral, so goes the commercial launch business. And thanks in no small part to the efforts of some of the companies we have here today, and to our commitment to an ambitious civil and national security space program, the Cape is coming alive. 

The space industry has brought millions of dollars of investment to Florida, along with thousands of jobs and other economic benefits. For years I’ve been working with the FAA, NASA, the Air Force, and our colleagues here in Congress to pave the way for a dramatic increase in commercial space activity at the Cape, and now we are seeing that come to fruition.

As a matter of fact, earlier this month, General Monteith, the commander of the 45th Space Wing, told me they now have the capability to support two launches from the Cape in a single day. Over the coming years, those launches will deliver thousands of new satellites into orbit, cargo and crews to the International Space Station, and eventually new technologies like in-space manufacturing. And on top of all of that, we are building the vehicles that will return humanity to deep space, and, folks, we are going to Mars.

So, suffice to say this is an exciting time, and frankly a critical time, for our space program and for the space sector as a whole. That is why it is such an important time to make sure our space agency is led by an experienced and competent professional. The agency has not faced this critical of an inflection point since the Apollo program. If we stumble now, the impacts on our civil, commercial, and national space capabilities could be felt for decades to come. 

I would like to thank our witnesses for being here today and I look forward to discussing how we can work together to bring about this new Space Age.

GAO Audit Reveals Half-Measures Taken by Small Business Advocates

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce heard from a panel of government officials on the comprehensive audit of the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBUs) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In order to protect and preserve the interests of small businesses across the federal government, each agency with procurement powers has its own OSDBU office,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA).  “It is our responsibility to conduct proper oversight by asking them to explain why they are noncompliant, and explore options to remedy the situation.

It is important to assess whether the government agencies offices are faithfully executing the Small Business Act,” said Congressman James Comer (R-KY). “The lessons we take from today’s hearing will help us understand more clearly how OSDBUs impact small business contractors nationwide.”

Agencies Should Not Be Allowed to Flout the Law

There were widespread and varying degrees of noncompliance throughout the GAO report that were particularly troubling. GAO found high levels of noncompliance for several specific requirements in the Small Business Act; these high rates of noncompliance are particularly troubling.

Agencies demonstrated mixed levels of compliance with OSDBU Director Requirements,” said Bill Shear, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at the United States Government Accountability Office. “Of the five director-related requirements we reviewed, the level of demonstrated compliance varied, but was not universal for any one requirement…levels of demonstrated compliance were high for five of eight functional requirements, but were much lower for the remaining three requirements.

A Model for Success

Collaboration between the OSDBUs and Small Business Administration (SBA) will enable us, as advocates for small business, to pivot and meet the challenges of the ever-changing marketplace,” said Robb N. Wong, Associate Administrator for the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development at the United States Small Business Administration.  “The point of all of this, SBA, the OSDBUs, and the Scorecard process, is to encourage agencies to provide small businesses access to government prime contracts and subcontracts.”

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a robust, award-winning small business contracting program that promotes small business prime contracts and small business subcontracts under large business prime contractors,” stated Kevin Boshears, the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at the United States Department of Homeland Security. “DHS has demonstrated compliance with all 12 of the 12 requirements selected by GAO for review.”

Click here to watch the full video, and here to read the full testimony.

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Committee Announces Hearing on Native American Subsistence Rights

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Exploring Native American Subsistence Rights and International Treaties,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The hearing will examine the cultural, economic and noncommercial use of fish and marine mammals for subsistence hunting.

Witnesses:

  - The Honorable Harry Brower, Mayor, North Slope Borough
  - Mr. John Hopson, Jr., Chairman, Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
  - Dr. Robert Suydam, Senior Wildlife Biologist, North Slope Borough
  - Mr. Chris Swartz, President of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community 

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, October 31, 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.

Eighth Circuit Finds Standing, but Ultimately Rejects Claims, in Data-Breach Suit

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:09am
Featured Expert Contributor—Civil Justice/Class Actions Frank Cruz-Alvarez, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., with Rachel Forman, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. On August 21, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in Kuhns v. Scottrade, Inc., 868 F.3d 711 (8th Cir. 2017), affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a consolidated class action complaint. …

Continue reading Eighth Circuit Finds Standing, but Ultimately Rejects Claims, in Data-Breach Suit

Categories: Latest News

Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Fisheries Science

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: Fisheries Science,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. The hearing is the fourth of the series and will focus on the state of our nation’s fisheries and the science that supports sustainable management. 

Witnesses:

  -  Mr. Karl Haflinger, Founder and President, Sea State, Inc
  -  Dr. Ray Hilborn, Professor, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  -  Dr. Michael Jones, Professor, Michigan State University Quantitative Fisheries Center
  -  Dr. Larry McKinney, Director, Texas A&M University Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, October 24, 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.

Rep. Guthrie Opening Statement (R-KY) | Hearing on “Public-Private Solutions to Educating a Cyber Workforce”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:00am

When Americans think of data breaches and cyber-attacks, names like Equifax come to mind. This and other recent high profile data breaches have made private and sensitive information vulnerable to identity theft as well as other cyber-crimes.

Cyber-crimes are constantly appearing in the news, and Americans want to know what is being done to protect their data, as well as other vulnerable targets that comprise our national infrastructure.

Organizations in the public and private sectors are actively seeking skilled professionals to fill the numerous jobs available in the growing cybersecurity field, and are coming up short in the number of Americans able to fill these essential positions that ensure our American cyber-infrastructure is safe.

A recent study by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) examined the global cybersecurity workforce shortage and confirmed that the talent shortage was real and widespread. Eighty-two percent of participants report a shortage of cybersecurity skills.

The same report found that more than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. are unfilled, and job postings are up 74 percent over the past five years. Additionally, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to continue to grow to over 1.8 million by 2022.

This skills gap is not unique to the cybersecurity sector. Many other industries such as manufacturing and transportation are facing a shortage of skilled workers to fill good-paying jobs. However, when dealing with cybersecurity, the stakes are even higher because we are dealing with national security.

Fortunately, the discussions we have today will not be the beginning of the conversation in Congress on closing the skills gap.

The House unanimously passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which allows states to dedicate additional resources towards high-demand fields such as cybersecurity based on changing economic, educational, or national security needs.

Additionally, the Committee on Education and the Workforce has been carefully observing the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that was signed into law in 2014.

This law streamlined the confusing maze of workforce development programs, and increased the amount of funding available to the states to meet specific workforce demands based on conversations with public and private stakeholders in each state.

Today’s hearing will examine solutions to filling the skills gap that currently exists in the cybersecurity field, and how coalitions across government, academic institutions, and private industries can pave the way to successfully close this skills gap and keep our country’s cybersecurity infrastructure  safe.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how Congress can assist in the conversations already taking place between institutions of higher education and public and private entities in the cybersecurity field.

To read PDF version, click here.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) | Hearing on “Public-Private Solutions to Educating a Cyber Workforce”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:00am

Let me begin by welcoming our witness panel and our guests today. Thank you for taking the time away from your important work to testify and help Congress better understand these workforce issues. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Members of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee to hold this joint hearing on developing our nation’s cyber workforce. I would like to thank Chairwoman Foxx and Chairman Guthrie for their work on this critical issue. It is an important time for cooperation here on Capitol Hill and it is my sincere hope that the public will be encouraged that Members on both sides of the aisle are focused on important issues that really matter.

Cybersecurity is an issue that affects every sector of our economy and our society. The risks are broadly shared and this joint hearing shows the need for an integrated approach to address the challenge of the cyber skills gap. Cyberattacks are growing in frequency and sophistication, but the availability of qualified cybersecurity professionals to deal with these challenges is not keeping pace. We cannot speak to the shortage of workers without recognizing the importance of the academic pipeline that produces today’s workforce as well our next generation of experts who will need to keep pace with technology and the ever evolving threats.

The dearth of cybersecurity talent is a major resource constraint that impacts our ability to protect information and assets. More than 200,000 cybersecurity jobs in the US are unfilled and the demand for positions, like information security professionals, is expected to grow by 53 percent through 2018. This slow moving crisis is very likely to only get worse.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection subcommittee recently heard testimony that indicated that the struggle to find qualified personnel to fill cybersecurity roles in government and business is not only a short term problem, but is expected to grow and become even more acute in the future. Technology innovation and criminal tactics move very fast,, and with each new wirelessly-connected baby monitor or interconnected energy-efficient pipeline that comes online, new threats and vulnerabilities emerge to exploit those technologies. Just as the connected world expands and new products improve our quality of life, simplifying many tasks, our vulnerabilities move in parallel and demand a skilled workforce who can protect the functionality and preserve confidential data.

Public and private hiring systems must likewise shift and adapt to a new way of thinking about hiring and recruiting; we need intellectual capital that better reflects the qualifications and skills of a new type of cyber worker.. For their entire lives,younger Americans just enter ing the workforce have possessed more technology in a single smartphone than some ever imagined. Consider that the iPhone 7 operates at 1.4 gigahertz and can process instructions at a rate of approximately 1.2 instructions every cycle in each of its 2 cores. Put simply, the iPhone 7’s clock is 32,600 times faster than the best Apollo-era computers and could perform instructions 120,000,000 times faster. You wouldn’t be wrong in saying an iPhone could be used to guide 120,000,000 Apollo era spacecraft to t e moon, all at the same time. The rate of innovation in the information technology sector is simply astonishing.

I believe the Federal Government and our cybersecurity leaders can create more alliances with community groups, universities and career and technical schools to better develop our talent pipeline. The Department of Homeland Security supports a number of efforts to strengthen its workforce, from programs to recruit new cyber talent to those that allow private sector experts the opportunity to share their knowledge working at DHS. We need to encourage government-university-employer collaborations that are meaningful and robust. Demonstrating cyber know-how no longer comes in discrete forms such as having a bachelor’s degree or not, or obtainin g a cyber certification. Cyber competitions, bug bounty programs, and coding camps are all new forms of workforce development.

I am looking forward to discussing with our witnesses today some of the best practices in building public-private partnerships to expand the cyber workforce pipeline.

The cyber capabilities of our workforce help support economic strength and sustain our technological advantage. It is my firm belief that America will only remain the world’s preeminent superpower so long as it remains the world’s cybersecurity leader. Leadership matters, and if we don’t encourage and develop the talented men and women who lead this work, we will be both poorer and less safe.   

To view the PDF version, click here.

Third Circuit Antitrust Decision Makes Pharmaceutical Patent Disputes Nearly Impossible to Settle

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 11:24am
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 FTC v. Actavis, Inc. decision held that “reverse payment” settlement agreements—in which a drug company suing a generic competitor for patent infringement pays the alleged infringer a substantial amount of cash to settle the litigation—are subject to antitrust scrutiny.  The Court reasoned that such reverse payments are unusual and may …

Continue reading Third Circuit Antitrust Decision Makes Pharmaceutical Patent Disputes Nearly Impossible to Settle

Categories: Latest News

Small Business Capital Access: Supporting Community and Economic Development

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:30pm

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Small Business Capital Access: Supporting Community and Economic Development.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 P.M. on Friday, October 20, 2017 in Studio C at The Enterprise Center, 4548 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139.

The hearing will look at capital access programs working to promote affordable lending products for small businesses, especially those in distressed areas.

Documents 

1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses

Ms. Dafina Williams
Vice President of Public Policy
Opportunity Finance Network
Philadelphia, PA
Testimony 
Disclosure

Ms. Leslie Benoliel
President
Entrepreneur Works
Philadelphia, PA
Testimony 
Disclosure

Mr. Lin Thomas
Chief Executive Officer
EMSCO Scientific Enterprises, Inc.
Philadelphia, PA
Testimony 
Disclosure

Mr. Steve Dorcelien
Owner
Bright Yellow Creamery
Philadelphia, PA 
Testimony 
Disclosure

 

Committee Announces 2018 Field Hearing on Automotive Innovation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a filed hearing titled, “Driving Automotive Innovation and Federal Policies,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, at the Washington Convention Center. The Senate field hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.

Witnesses:

To be announced

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full committee
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW
West Salon Room
Washington, DC 20001

The hearing is open to credentialed media and the public. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov

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