Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and all twelve Republican Committee Members have sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler urging him to permanently exempt small businesses from the FCC’s burdensome Open Internet Order regulations.
The letter was co-signed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and every Republican member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
You can read the full text of the letter HERE.
“During the Open Internet proceeding, the FCC heard from small businesses regarding the impact of the FCC’s enhanced transparency requirements. In its Order, the Commission rightly recognized that small businesses are uniquely situated and granted small businesses a temporary exemption from the requirements. We applaud the Commission’s action in granting this temporary exemption and urge you to make it permanent,” wrote the lawmakers.
“Small businesses serve as the backbone of the United States economy. In fact, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States, create 63 percent of net new private-sector jobs, and create more than half of private, non-farm gross domestic product,” they noted. “These companies are the true ‘job creators,’ consistently responsible for 60% to 80% of net new jobs in each of the past 10 years. … Given the stakes for America’s small businesses, the FCC was right to exercise caution and grant the temporary exemption. Now is the time to recognize the disproportionate impact that the requirements would have on these ISPs and their customers and make the exemption permanent. Additionally, the commission should grant the exemption to all small businesses that meet the definitions previously set by the [Small Business Administration].”Read More
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade will meet for a hearing titled, “Improving Size Standards for Small Farmers and Ranchers.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, November 19, 2015 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Subcommittee will examine H.R. 3714, the “Small Agriculture Producer Size Standards Improvements Act of 2015.” The bill would amend the Small Business Act and require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish small business size standards for agricultural producers through the notice and comment rulemaking process. In contrast to the size standards established for all other industries by the SBA, the size standard for agriculture enterprises is established by statute and has not been updated in 15 years.
The Honorable Mike Bost, (IL-12)
United States House of Representatives
Nicholas D. Paulson, Ph.D.
Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mr. Jeff Beasley
Beasley & Sons Livestock
Creal Springs, IL
*Testifying on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Mr. Larry Burgin
*Testifying on behalf of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Mr. Robert Guenther
Senior Vice President, Public Policy
United Fresh Produce Association
Today, the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade heard testimony on the need to reform the Small Business Administration (SBA) small business size standards for agriculture.
A panel of stakeholders described to lawmakers how the SBA’s standards for determining which businesses qualify as small businesses put American farmers and ranchers at a serious disadvantage when competing for federal contracts and applying for SBA loans.
The SBA’s current size standard for agricultural enterprises, which is set in statute, has not been updated in 15 years – failing to account for changes in industry structure, commodity prices, costs of production, and other economic conditions.
The single size standard applies to 46 diverse subsectors of the agriculture industry including soybeans, citrus, beef cattle and poultry.
“It seems to me that small farmers and ranchers have been neglected for too long,” said Subcommittee Chairman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). “The size standard setting process for agricultural enterprises needs to be modernized. The existing statutory size standard does not account for changes in industry structure, costs of production, economic conditions, or other factors.”
Last month, Small Business Committee Member Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), introduced H.R. 3714, the Small Agriculture Producer Size Standards Improvements Act of 2015.
This bipartisan legislation, which is cosponsored by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), Subcommittee Chairman Curbelo, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Grace Meng (D-NY), would modernize the process of establishing small business size standards for small farmers and ranchers and ensure that they are reviewed every five years.
“(L)ow relative commodity prices, thin margins and increased costs for land and other inputs has resulted in the consolidation of many individual family-owned operations into larger, single family-owned business units. However, these operations very much remain small businesses,” noted Rep. Bost during today’s hearing. “An appropriate size standard for agriculture producers will help create new opportunities for small agriculture producers and help ensure government agencies are meeting Congressionally-established small business contracting goals.”
Key quotes from other witnesses on today’s panel:
“The cattle operation my family owns today looks very different from how it started when you consider the market conditions and cost of production have changed significantly over time,” said Mr. Jeff Beasley, the co-owner of Beasley & Sons Livestock in Creal Springs, IL. “The outdated size standards of the Small Business Act clearly do not reflect the needs of modern agriculture.”
“A farm’s receipts are not necessarily indicative of their relative success, status or size. Through the years, my farm has grown in size. It has grown to allow me to spread out expenses, to allow for more family member involvement, and to ensure my wife and I were able to provide for our family responsibly,” said Larry Burgin, the owner of Mushkoday Farm in Delhi, NY. “But the growth in size was not directly commensurate with growth in income. Like in other businesses, input costs are volatile and seemingly always on the rise and margins are always shrinking. SBA programs should acknowledge these unique aspects of agriculture in order to be a partner in our success.”
“With higher commodity price levels, a significant number of crop farms may have shifted out of the small business category, as currently defined by statute, with no real change to the scale of their operations,” said Dr. Nicholas D. Paulson, Associate Professor Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, IL. “The farms most likely to be impacted by the SBA definition are those which currently contribute the majority of the value of production to US agriculture. Thus, it is even more critical to have an appropriate definition in place for small agricultural businesses to ensure continued access to and eligibility for SBA programs.”
You can view the video of today’s hearing HERE.
In July 2014, John Shoraka, SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development, testified before the subcommittee, “If SBA were mandated to review agricultural size standards, adjustments for inflation and other economic conditions could be made.”“Currently, SBA does not adjust the statutory agricultural size standards for inflation,” Shoraka testified. “As a result, the agricultural size standard has remained at the $750,000 receipts level since 2000, while SBA has reviewed and adjusted monetary based size standards for inflation four times in that time period.” Read More
WASHINGTON – Members of the Small Business Committee joined together to lead the introduction of a bipartisan House resolution recognizing the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 28th, as “Small Business Saturday.”
“America’s small businesses need to know we are committed to doing everything we can to help them thrive so they can create jobs and boost economic growth,” Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said. “Support for America’s small businesses transcends partisan politics. I thank Ranking Member Velázquez for her support for this bipartisan resolution to encourage all Americans to ‘shop small’ next Saturday.”
“Small Business Saturday allows Americans to demonstrate support for entrepreneurs not just with words, but with their shopping dollars,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the Ranking Democrat of the House Small Business Committee. “Standing by small businesses isn’t a partisan issue and I’m proud to join Chairman Chabot in this effort to officially recognize Small Business Saturday.”
The resolution notes that there are over 28 million small businesses in the United States which:
- Represent 99.7 percent of all businesses with employees
- Employ over 48 percent of private sector employees
- Pay over 42 percent of the total private sector payroll
- Constitute 98 percent of firms exporting goods
- Created 63 percent of net new jobs between 1993 and 2013
You can read the full text of the resolution HERE.
Joining Chairman Chabot and Ranking Member Velázquez, as original bipartisan cosponsors of the resolution are: Reps. Adams (NC), Ashford, Beatty, Benishek, Blum (IA), Bonamici, Bost, Brooks (IN), Brown (FL), Bustos, Capuano, Cárdenas, Carson (IN), Chu (CA), Cicilline, Clarke (NY), Collins (NY), Curbelo, DelBene, Ellmers, Fattah, Gibson (NY), Graves (MO), Grijalva, Hahn, Hanna, Hardy, Huelskamp, Kelly (MS), King (IA), Knight (CA), Lawrence (MI), Luetkemeyer, Marino, Meng, Moulton (MA), Norton, Payne (NJ), Pingree, Pocan, Schakowsky, Radewagen, Ryan (OH), Takai, Tipton, Titus, Valadao , Vargas, Sensenbrenner, Brat, Rice, Kind, Kirkpatrick (AZ) and McCaul.Read More
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce will meet for a hearing titled, “Continuing Challenges for Small Contractors." The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
As part of the Subcommittee’s ongoing effort to improve the competitive viability of small contractors, the hearing will examine two issues affecting small contractors. First, it will look at issues of transparency in federal contracting programs designed to assist small businesses. Second, it will allow small subcontractors to explain the unique problems they face in the federal arena.
Ms. Anne Crossman
* Testifying on behalf of Women Impacting Public Policy
Mr. Edward T. DeLisle
Partner and Co-Chair, Federal Contracting Group
Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC
* Testifying on behalf of The Associated General Contractors of America
Mr. Michael D. Janeway
President and CEO
APG Technologies, LLC
President and CEO
Today, the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce examined continuing challenges for small contractors with a diverse panel of small business stakeholders with first-hand experience navigating federal contracting laws. The inconsistent and often inaccurate way the Small Business Administration (SBA) measures the allocation of federal contracts was a key topic of discussion.
“Given the hundreds of billions in federal contract dollars at stake each year, ensuring that small businesses have the opportunity to compete for federal prime and subcontracts is key,” said Subcommittee Chairman Richard Hanna (R-NY). “The goals are supposed to help us accomplish this, but currently they are being used to paint a rosy picture rather than to capture reality. We also need to make sure that subcontracting opportunities are real, and that subcontractors with the desire and capability are able to transition to being prime contractors."
Hanna noted that while SBA reports that the federal government exceeded the statutory goal of awarding 23 percent of prime contracts to small businesses each year for the last two years, the reality is that the federal government excluded nearly 20 percent of its contract dollars before making that determination.
Key quotes from witnesses at today’s hearing below:
“Subcontracting plans should no longer just be words on paper to address a proposal requirement. It should be an executable management plan that is contractually binding under and which the prime contractor is measured and held accountable,” said Michael D. Janeway, President and CEO of APG Technologies, LLC of Sterling, VA. “The subcontracting plans requirements should be revised to increase small business subcontracting participation and enhance the electronic subcontracting reporting system to improve federal agency monitoring of prime contractor achievements against their subcontracting plans.”
“Two pieces of information should be reported and easily accessible: subcontracting opportunities available for a given contract and the extent to which those opportunities are actually being performed by a small business.” said Anne Crossman, the Head Revolutionary for Completed Systems of Oakton, VA.
Congress needs to ensure that that the executive branch implements “the lower tier small business counting reform in a timely fashion and in a practical and reasonable manner that will generate reliable data without being overly burdensome to contractors . . . [and reviews] the market research efforts, if any, that federal agencies use to set small business subcontractor goals,” said Edward T. DeLisle, Partner and Co-Chair of the Federal Contracting Group of Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC in Philadelphia, PA.You can watch the subcommittee hearing HERE Read More
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, National Entrepreneurs’ Day. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on November 17, 2015, in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
In conjunction with H.Res. 511, which expresses support for designation of the Third Tuesday of November as “National Entrepreneurs’ Day,” the Committee will meet for the purpose of receiving testimony on the benefits of entrepreneurship to the American economy. The hearing will examine methods utilized and cultivated by entrepreneurs to achieve prosperity, such as capitalizing on emerging industries and fostering innovation. The hearing also will examine the challenges present in today’s economy which may affect an entrepreneur’s ability to succeed.
Mr. Chris Ostoich
Co-Founder & VP Marketing
Mr. Sam Zietz
CEO and Founder
Boca Raton, FL
Mr. Drew Bartkiewicz
CEO and Founder
Ms. Jen Pepper
West Newbury, MA
Washington - The Small Business Committee today spotlighted the contribution of entrepreneurs to America’s economy during a full committee hearing on National Entrepreneurs’ Day. The Committee heard from a diverse panel of entrepreneurs on how they were able to achieve the American Dream, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in the process. The panel also testified about the challenges of entrepreneurship.
“At a time when business deaths are outnumbering business births, it is vitally important that we do all we can to promote American entrepreneurship,” Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said. “Whether it is making the SBA more efficient, rolling back burdensome regulations or reforming an outdated tax code, America’s entrepreneurs need to know we have their back in these difficult times. National Entrepreneurs’ Day is an opportunity for policymakers from both sides of the aisle to recognize the contributions of our job creators and reaffirm our commitment to help them however we can.”
Chabot introduced a House resolution earlier this month with Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) recognizing the third Tuesday in November as National Entrepreneurs’ Day. The resolution has strong bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats.
Key quotes from the hearing:
“We've come a long way in less than a decade and one thing’s for sure, Ohio is flyover country no more,” said Chris Ostoich, Co-Founder & VP of Marketing, LISNR, Inc. of Cincinnati, OH. “What I found very quickly was this: in any successful entrepreneurial ecosystem, you will always have these three things: entrepreneurs with scalable ideas, investors willing to back those ideas and customers willing to engage and buy products.”
“The cost of compliance is very high,” said Sam Zeitz, CEO and Founder of Touchsuite of Boca Raton, FL. There are many valid instances where regulation is necessary; however, we need to be able to remove as many obstacles as we can for businesses to be successful…. Additionally, the different levels and requirements of regulations by each state make it impractical for small business to compete with larger companies that can absorb those unnecessary costs.”
“I am convinced that military education and service can be a magnificent way to learn how to be an entrepreneur,” said Drew Bartkiewicz, CEO and Founder of lettrs LLC of Collinsville, CT. “It certainly helped me graduate with an MBA the Yale Management School in 1994 and served as the foundation upon which I’ve built my private sector business experience – a pathway that has taken me all across the globe.”“Like 90% of Etsy sellers, I wish to continue to grow my creative business. I hope this coming year brings more success, and more customers so that I can hire an employee, and perhaps even move into a studio space, rather than continuing to work out of my wonderfully decorated spare bedroom, said Jen Pepper, Owner of PepperSprouts West Newbury, MA. “My dream is not only sell my work, but also create a lasting business that is bigger than myself. I welcome the opportunity to work with you to help make that dream a reality.” Read More
WASHINGTON – Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) made the following statement after the U.S. House approved the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015 (RISE After Disaster Act), sending the measure to President Obama’s desk for his signature:
“When disasters strike, the last thing a small business needs is to have their recovery assistance delayed by unnecessary red tape and bureaucratic incompetence. This bipartisan legislation represents an important victory for good government and accountability, ensuring that our small businesses and the jobs they create are not lost in the wake of a disaster.”
Chabot noted that after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, many Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster relief funds were needlessly delayed, arriving so late that families and businesses suffered additional, unnecessary financial losses.The Ohio lawmaker also pointed to two recent investigations by the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Inspector General which uncovered significant delays in SBA’s processing times for disaster recovery assistance loans and serious operational problems within the program. Read More
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations will meet for a hearing titled, Regulatory Overload: The Effects of Federal Regulations on Small Firms. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:00 P.M. on Friday November 6, 2015, at North Las Vegas City Hall, Council Chambers, 2250 N. Las Vegas Blvd., North Las Vegas, NV 89030.
Across the country, federal regulations are a pervasive issue that affects small firms in all industries. While existing regulatory requirements impose significant burdens on small firms, new regulations create challenges as well. The Subcommittee will examine several federal regulations (either in development or implementation) and the impacts on small businesses.
Mr. Spencer Hafen
President & CEO
Nevada Bank and Trust Company
*Testifying on behalf of the Nevada Bankers Association
Ms. Robin E Simmers
Pahranagat Valley Federal Credit Union
*Testifying on behalf of the Nevada Credit Union League
Mr. David Jennings
Southern Nevada Home Builders Association
Las Vegas, NV
Mr. Mendis Cooper
Overton Power District Number 5
*Testifying on behalf of the Nevada Rural Electric Association
Mr. Quentin Aucoin
Assistant Inspector General for Investigations
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON - Last week, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a 134-page report detailing new concerns about leadership and management at the Small Business Administration (SBA). Upon reviewing the report, Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said the following:
“The members of the Small Business Committee take our oversight responsibilities seriously because this government is supposed to serve the people—never the other way around. The findings of this most recent GAO report on the SBA are incredibly concerning to us. For the sake of small businesses across the country who view the SBA as a resource and for the taxpayers who keep the SBA’s doors open, we’ll be taking a closer look at the issues and recommendations offered by the GAO and what the SBA can do to improve.”
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce will meet for a hearing titled, “Maximizing Mentoring: How are the SBA and DoD Mentor-Protégé Programs Serving Small Businesses?” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Mentor-Protégé programs are intended to partner small businesses with established mentors in order to improve the protégé’s ability to win and successfully perform on contracts and subcontracts. The hearing will examine: (1) how the Small Business Administration (SBA) is implementing changes made to its mentor-protégé and the mentor-protégé programs of civilian agencies by section 1347 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, (Pub. Law No.111-240), and section 1641 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Pub. Law No.112-239); (2) how the SBA and the Department of Defense (DoD) measure the effectiveness of mentor-protégé relationships; and (3) whether there are opportunities for increased collaboration between the SBA and DoD programs. The hearing will also review prior findings of the Government Accountability Office that encouraged post agreement tracking of mentor-protégé relationships.
Subcommittee Chairman Richard Hanna (R-NY) Opening Statement
Mr. Kenyatta Wesley
Acting Director, Office of Small Business Programs
United States Department of Defense
Mr. A. John Shoraka
Associate Administrator of Government Contracting and Business Development
Small Business Administration
On October 7, 2015, the Committee heard from financial transaction providers on the Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) chip payment system and the ongoing nationwide implementation which began on October 1, 2015. The upgraded technology is designed to protect against cybercrime and fraud. Small businesses that have not installed the new technology will be more vulnerable to cyber threats and they will be held liable for certain incidents of fraud. According to a recent study, less than forty-nine percent of small businesses were aware of the October deadline and liability shift. This second hearing on the shift to EMV chip technology will allow the Committee to receive testimony from small businesses about the challenges and implications of the transition.
Chairman Steve Chabot's Opening Statement
The Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations will meet for a hearing titled, “The Consequences of DOL’s One-Size-Fits-All Overtime Rule for Small Businesses and their Employees.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, October 8, 2015 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.On July 6, 2015, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rule to revise and update the existing Fair Labor Standards Act regulations that implement the exemption from overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales or computer employees. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to conduct outreach to and examine the economic impacts of proposed rules on small businesses. This hearing will examine the Department of Labor’s assessment of the impacts and the potential effects of this proposed rule on small firms and their employees.
The Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV) chip payment system will be implemented nationwide this October. The upgraded technology is designed to protect against cybercrime and fraud. However, many small businesses are unprepared for the new payment structure. These businesses will not only be more vulnerable to cyber threats, but they will also be held liable for certain incidents of fraud. According to a recent study, less than forty-nine percent of small businesses are aware of the looming deadline and liability shift. This hearing will examine the implications of the EMV chip deadline for small businesses and the efforts that are being made to ensure America’s small businesses are in compliance with their financial service providers.
Chairman Chabot Opening Statement
Ms. Stephanie Ericksen
Vice President, Risk Products
Foster City, CA
Mr. Scott Everett Talbott
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
ETA | Electronic Transactions Association
Mr. Paul Weston
President & CEO
TCM Bank, N.A.
Ms. Jan N. Roche
State Department Federal Credit Union
*Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions
For press interested in covering this event, please contact Kelley McNabb or Adam Scheidler.
Last year, President Obama signed Executive Order 13,673, to “promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with responsible sources who comply with labor laws.” Under the Executive Order, before contracting officers may award contracts worth more than $500,000, prospective contractors must disclose violations of 14 labor laws and “equivalent state laws” within the preceding three-year period. These disclosures will then guide decisions on the contractor’s ability to ultimately be eligible for award. The hearing will examine the ramifications of the United States Department of Labor and Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s implementation of Executive Order 13,673 for small businesses that sell goods and services to the federal government.
Subcommittee Chairman Richard Hanna
Subcommittee Chairman Cresent Hardy
The Hon. Angela B. Styles
Chair and Partner
Crowell & Morning
Mr. Theron M. Peacock, P.E., BSCP
Senior Principal / President
WOODS • PEACOCK Engineering Consultants
*Testifying on behalf of the American Council of Engineering Companies
Ms. Debbie Norris
Vice President, Human Resources
Merrick & Company
Greenwood Village, CO
*Testifying on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management
Mr. William J. Albanese, Sr.
A & A Industrial Piping, Inc.
*Testifying on behalf of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the Campaign for Quality Construction
The Hon. Anne Rung
Office of Federal Procurement Policy
Office of Management and Budget
Mr. Lafe Solomon
Senior Labor Compliance Advisor
Office of the Solicitor
United States Department of Labor
2361 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515