*Revised Schedule* This Week at Small Business
WASHINGTON - The Small Business Committee will hold the following hearings this week:
Full Committee Hearing *TODAY*
Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 11:00 A.M.
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Building an Opportunity Economy: State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 11:00 A.M., the Committee on Small Business will hold a hearing titled, Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship." The hearing will be held in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will be webstreamed live HERE.
The hearing will examine the health and vibrancy of the American economy, particularly as it pertains to the creation, sustainability, and future growth of small businesses.
Subcommittee Hearing *POSTPONED*
Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access
Chairman Tom Rice (R-SC)
Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10:00 A.M. -- POSTPONED; date TBD
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Improving Capital Access Programs within the SBA
On Thursday, March 5, 2015, at 10:00 A.M., the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access will hold a hearing titled, "Improving Capital Access Programs within the SBA." The hearing will be held in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will be webstreamed live HERE.
The purpose of the hearing is to examine capital access programs within the Small Business Administration (SBA).
· Ms. Barbara Vohryzek, President and CEO, National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), Washington, DC
· Mr. Brett Palmer, President, Small Business Investor Alliance, Washington, DC
· Mr. Richard Bradshaw, President, Specialized Lending, United Community Bank, Greenville, SC
(Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL))
· Dr. Scott Shane, A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor of Economics, Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management, Cleveland, OH
Chairman Steve Chabot
Small Business Committee Hearing
Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Good morning. This hearing will come to order. Thank you all for joining us.
Today, we are here to examine the state of small business. For the Members here, it’s not the first or last time we’ll have this conversation. We have it every time we talk to our constituents. They’re the ones who tell us the most about small business.
But in those conversations, we don’t have C-SPAN cameras, we don’t have stenographers, and it doesn’t make it into the Congressional record. So we’re having this hearing today for our constituents. To have a conversation for the record that we have already had many times back home, so that we – as Members of the Small Business Committee -- can start the legislative work of getting government off the backs of the American people.
1 out of every 2 employed Americans works at a small business. 7 out of every 10 new job opportunities are created by small businesses. When the federal government issues new rules, or raises taxes, or threatens to raise taxes, or increases health care costs, or prolongs a sense of uncertainty – this doesn’t just impact the name on a store front. It impacts real people. It impacts every American worker that puts a roof over their head and food on the table by working at that small business.
We have heard some say that our economy has recovered. And it has somewhat. But when you look at the number of unemployed Americans and the number of those who may be “employed” but can’t find full time work, it is clear that we are not where we should be.
As testimony today will reinforce, it’s not another sweeping government program that will make life better for Americans who depend on small businesses. The answer is hidden in the thousands of pages of regulations and tax policies, that are crushing the small business community. Another change that must be made – and this may be the most important change we can make – is to alter the mindset of the federal government so that it is always thinking about how its actions will impact our small businesses.
The labor force participation rate is at its lowest point in our history.
The percentage of long term unemployed is still much higher than before the recession.
And maybe the most disturbing trend: every year of the Obama administration has seen more businesses close their doors than open them.
Economists describe this as the number of business deaths exceeding the number of business births. In plain language it means we have a problem.
Small businesses are the foundation of our economy. As a Committee, we are here to make life better for small businesses and the working families that rely on them. Today, we begin that important work.
I want to thank each of our witnesses for taking the time to be with us today. I look forward to hearing your testimony. I now yield to our ranking member, Ms. Velázquez, for her opening statement.Read More
Chabot Requests Answers from HHS Secretary on Latest Obamacare Glitch Impact on Small Business
WASHINGTON—Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) yesterday sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell requesting answers about how small businesses have been impacted by the agency’s misleading of more than 800,000 Americans with faulty tax information.
“This misinformation has created yet more uncertainty in an already difficult tax season for many Americans,” Chairman Chabot wrote in the letter which may be viewed in its entirety here.
Chairman Chabot asked Secretary Burwell five specific questions related to the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges in this, the latest in the succession of Obamacare glitches. Chairman Chabot specifically asked:
“The Administration touted the Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOPs) as a competitive and convenient location for small businesses to compare prices and purchase affordable and effective health insurance coverage for their employees and families,” Chairman Chabot wrote. “However, I am concerned that this most recent error may have compounded the problems small business owners have faced when utilizing the SHOPs, such as cancelled plans, higher premiums, and less comprehensive coverage options.”
Chabot Urges SBA to Join the Effort to Reach Trade Agreements
WASHINGTON – In today’s hearing on the Small Business Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2016, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) urged Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet to make international trade a priority for the SBA as Congress pursues trade agreements this year.
Chairman Chabot said, “I met with a number of small businesses from around the country this morning. We talked about the importance of trade. As you know, trade is critical to our economy. Ninety-six percent of consumers are located outside the boundaries of the United States. Unfortunately, only 1 to 2 percent of small businesses are engaged in international trade.”
Chairman Chabot and Administrator Contreras–Sweet agreed that crucial opportunities for trade and small business lie with Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the TPP and TTIP agreements that can then follow.
Chabot concluded with this request to Administrator Contreras-Sweet: “Please let me urge you to do everything in your power to emphasize to the Administration the importance of passing these trade pieces of legislation to small businesses across the country. You and I, in our different capacities, should do everything we can to do that.”
Chairman Chabot’s comments came after he had expressed some concern over the SBA’s budget priorities. “Ultimately, budgeting is about the bottom line for small businesses,” Chabot said in his opening statement. “For the SBA, the budget is about accountability. The budget request is the Agency’s defense of its priorities to taxpayers, current small business owners, entrepreneurs, and Congress. If this is the Agency’s defense, then it is has not gotten that accountability right.” Full hearing documents can be viewed here.
CHABOT CONVENES ROUNDTABLE ON SMALL BUSINESS TRADE
WASHINGTON – Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) convened a roundtable today to discuss small businesses’ stake in trade. The participants included Members of the House Small Business Committee, Committee on Ways and Means, and small businesses from throughout the country who currently export their products overseas.
“You’re actively involved in trade,” Chabot said. “We want to find out how you did it and what we can change so other small businesses can trade.”
The discussion highlighted the importance of trade to future small businesses growth, the challenges faced by small exporters, and the need to reform ineffective federal export resources that are intended to facilitate trade, but often add confusion to an already complex process.
One business owner said, “If a small company can compete in the U.S., it can compete anywhere in the world. We just need to demystify the export process.”
Chairman Chabot concluded the conversation with specific questions about federal programs intended to support small businesses and potential trade agreements that could open new markets, emphasizing that small businesses require and can depend on the Small Business Committee to be their voice as the 114th Congress proceeds on the issue of international trade.### Read More
Chabot on Keystone Veto; Cincinnati Jobs
WASHINGTON - Following President Obama’s veto of bipartisan legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) issued the following statement:
“When we talk about the jobs Keystone would support, we’re not just talking about numbers. We’re talking about real people, like those I’ve met at the Siemens factory in Cincinnati who stand ready to manufacture the electric motors for the pipeline. We’re talking about more than 42,000 hardworking Americans in cities and towns all over the country who are paying the price for President Obama’s political temper tantrum.
Republicans, Democrats, and the people who sent us here want the Keystone Pipeline. We’ll continue to fight for what is right, even if President Obama made it clear today that he will not.”
Washington Post: Meet Congress’s new small business leaders
Rep. Steve Chabot can empathize with small business owners. Before launching his political career – and between his two stints in Congress – the Ohio Republican and seasoned attorney owned and ran his own law practice in Cincinnati.
“We were a small storefront law office, and we had to deal with all the things that come with running a business,” Chabot said in a recent interview on the Hill. “I have seen firsthand the challenges that are faced by small business folks.”
It’s that experience that lured Chabot onto the House Small Business Committee when he first arrived in Washington 1995. After 19 years on the panel (he lost a reelection bid in 2008 only to win back the seat two years later), Chabot last month took over as chairman. He replaces Rep. Sam Graves, a fellow Ohioan who stepped down in keeping with self-imposed term limits.
In his new role, Chabot will manage the congressional coalition charged with ensuring that small companies have sufficient access to capital and federal contracts and that they aren’t overburdened by regulations. His committee also has oversight responsibilities over the Small Business Administration’s lending and counseling programs.
During our conversation, Chabot talked about the current climate for small businesses, his legislative goals, and why the recent power shift in Washington may make a difference for entrepreneurs. What follows is a transcript of our interview, edited for length and clarity.
Harrison: For starters, how would you describe the current state of small business across the country?
Chabot: I would say in the overall economy there has been some improvement, but in the small business community, not nearly enough. I think there are still the same challenges faced by small businesses that have been there for years: being over regulated by the federal government, having to deal with a far too complex tax system, access to capital. So those areas that make it challenging to be a small business person today in America, and those are the types of things I intend to address on this committee.
Harrison: On which issues in particular do you plan to focus the committee’s time and attention?
Chabot: There are really four areas. One is doing something to reduce the amount of regulations on small businesses. Reforming the tax code as it pertains to small businesses, that would be another one, though that would probably be as part of a larger tax reform package.
I mentioned access to capital, that’s another one. We need to streamline the process small businesses have to go through to work with the Small Business Administration. I have talked to a lot of folks in my district and heard testimony to this committee about how daunting it can be to deal with the SBA and go through the loan process. The paperwork alone is very challenging, and there has to be a way to reduce that.
Increasing trade is the fourth area, and that fits quite well with my role on the foreign affairs committee (Chabot has served on that committee for 19 years, too).
Harrison: Where do you start? What are the first items of business?
Chabot: Most timely would be the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which we have passed a couple times in this committee before. That would be the most immediate possible activity. In general, what it does is require federal agencies to take into consideration the effects that regulations have on small businesses (the bill has since passed the House and awaits action in the Senate).
I would argue over-regulation is one the greatest challenges small businesses face right now. So we’re going to deal with a whole range of things related to the so-called Affordable Care Act – which I tend to refer to as the Unaffordable Care Act – as well as Dodd Frank, which has made it tougher for small businesses to obtain access to capital, because you now have a whole new regime of regulators looking over the shoulders of the banking industry and the credit unions. Those are the types of things where we can actually have an impact.
Harrison: Now that your party has seized control of both chambers, how does that change the game?
Chabot: I think that we have a greater opportunity now with the new leadership in the Senate than we did previously. Hundreds and hundreds of bills passed out of the House in recent years but never saw the light of day in the Senate, and a lot of those were small business bills. So, that should be different. However, assuming that you have all the Republicans agreeing on a particular piece of legislation, it’s going to need to be bipartisan, because we still need six Democrats. So they’re still going to need to work on cooperation in the Senate.
Harrison: Some of the topics you have mentioned have been politically polarizing. Are there areas where you think you can find that bipartisan support?
Chabot: Trade is probably our best opportunity to actually get something through this committee, through Congress and to the president’s desk that he may ultimately sign. I think his attitude about trade is somewhat like Bill Clinton’s and Al Gore’s, so I think we have a shot at TPP [the Trans-Pacific Partnership the administration is currently working on] and maybe even a deal with Europe, too.
Harrison: In addition to mom-and-pop small businesses, will fast-growing, tech-driven start-ups be a focus of the committee?
Chabot: That is one of the things that we’re going to explore and hold hearings on. We’re actually going to focus some of that attention on my district. There have been a lot of incubators and venture capitalists and angel investors coming into Cincinnati. It’s really on the cutting edge. So, yes, we’re going to focus some attention on that, try to find out what’s working, what challenges those entrepreneurs are facing and try to see if there’s room to expand what’s working across the country.
Harrison: What’s your most lofty, pie-in-the-sky goal during your tenure as small business chairman?
Chabot: Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, yet only one percent of small businesses actually trade sell their products outside the country. We need to improve upon that. A very small increase in that one percent would have a huge impact. That’s an area where I’m hoping we can make some real headway in the next two years, four years or six years, depending on how long I have the opportunity to do this. There’s a huge amount of potential in trade if we do it right.
House Passes America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015
Chabot: Bill Will Result in More Opportunity for Working Families
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 636, America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015. As Congress gets to work on much-needed tax reform, provisions in H.R. 636 make Section 179 expensing levels permanent so small businesses and the millions of Americans who depend on them can plan for the future.
Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) voiced his strong support of the H.R. 636 in a floor speech this morning. Chabot said, “Passing this bill makes it easier for small businesses to plan for the future – knowing that Washington won’t pull the rug out from underneath them.
“As Chairman of the Small Business Committee, I strongly support this measure – and any measure that removes barriers to small business job creation. This bill provides relief to our small businesses and will result in more opportunity for working families.”
Chairman Chabot Opening Statement
Full Committee Hearing: Contracting and the Industrial Base
Prepared for Delivery
WASHINGTON -- Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) opened today's full committee hearing on Contracting and the Industrial Base with the following statement:
"Good morning. I call this hearing to order. I’m happy to be here today, as this is my first hearing as Chairman, although I’ve participated as a Member of the Small Business Committee for many years. Today, we begin the good work of helping our small businesses, and I’m particularly pleased to start that endeavor by discussing a subject that has much promise for small businesses and taxpayers alike – federal contracting reform.
"As you know, the federal government has a goal of awarding at least 23 percent of federal prime contract dollars to small businesses, and in Fiscal Year 2013 that goal was met for the first time in many years. Early indications are that the goal was met again last year. However, it isn’t enough to simply meet the goal – we have to focus on why Congress created the goals. The goals exist as a tool – they are intended to make sure we have a broad spectrum of small businesses working with the government across industries.
"Having a healthy small business industrial base means that taxpayers benefit from increased competition, innovation, and job creation. It also means that we can securely support programs crucial to our national defense. The percentage of dollars awarded to small businesses is a good measure of success, but it isn’t the only measure.
"Indeed, it appears that over the last four years, while the percentage of dollars being awarded to small businesses was increasing, the number of contract actions with small businesses fell by almost 60 percent.
"At the Department of Defense (DoD), the number fell by almost 70 percent. The size of the average individual small business contract action increased by 230 percent during that same period, and by nearly 290 percent at DoD.
"These statistics are all alarming in their own way, but one of the more clear-cut and disturbing figures is that there are over 100,000 fewer small businesses registered to do business with federal government than there were in 2012. These data points suggest we have a problem with our small business industrial base.
"Today’s witnesses are going to address specific recommendations to improve the competitive viability of our small business contractors. This is only the first of a series of full committee and subcommittee hearings we’ll be having on this topic. I expect that the Committee will actively pursue ways to increase opportunities for small businesses to access capital and contracts, while removing barriers to small business success. I look forward to working with each of you, and want to welcome our witnesses.
"I now yield to the Ranking Member for her opening statement."
2361 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515