WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the Small Business Credit Availability Act, introduced by Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH), as well as Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), and Gwen Moore (D-WI), passed as part of the omnibus funding bill. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) sponsored a companion bill in the Senate. This bipartisan legislation will make important reforms to enable Business Development Companies (BDCs) to deploy more capital to America’s small and middle market companies, allowing them to meet their financing needs so they can grow their businesses and hire more workers.
The legislation reduces BDCs' asset-ratio requirement enabling more investments in small and middle-market America. The bill would also modernize BDCs' securities offering requirements by eliminating costly and duplicative regulatory paperwork that diverts investments away from job creation and economic growth.
“Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen banks cut back on lending to small and mid-sized businesses, making BDCs an even more important resource to our job creators,” Stivers said. “I am proud we were able to pass this legislation to make it easier for BDCs to provide financing to these businesses so they can continue to create jobs in our communities.”
Over half of all BDCs are publicly traded, allowing retail investors an opportunity to invest in small and middle market companies on Main Street. However, despite their growing importance, the regulatory policies that govern them have remained largely unchanged since their creation over 30 years ago.
BDCs were created by Congress to fill the void left after banks slowed lending to small businesses following losses in oil and real estate investments in the 1970s. BDCs are required to invest at least 70 percent of their assets into private operating companies and publicly traded firms that are valued at less than $250 million – which includes middle market businesses. As a result, BDCs have become an important source of financing for these businesses, which employ nearly 48 million Americans and are responsible for approximately one-third of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced H.R. 5340, the Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act in order to strengthen the United States’ crippled patent system. The bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act would restore patents as property rights, make standards of protections in courts uniform, and protect start-ups from being out-resourced by technology incumbents.
In recent years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has downgraded our nation’s patent system – once ranked first, it is currently ranked 12th – and subsequently, investor confidence has been undermined with relations to tech start-ups, bio and pharmaceutical companies, and innovation centers on university campuses.
“As a nation, we may not have the lowest wage rate, or the lowest number of regulations, but we do have the best ideas, and protecting those ideas is essential,” Stivers said. “Main Street should be just as much of an incubator for innovation as Silicon Valley, and we must ensure that these small patent owners have the same opportunity to compete in the open market.”
“I am proud to work with Representative Stivers to make our patent system stronger and more effective for everyone with a new idea. From the earliest days of our country’s history, our economy’s strength has relied on a patent system that has allowed innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive,” Foster said. “This system has allowed businesses to flourish, creating jobs and cementing our reputation as a world leader. Our current patent system, however, has been weakened to the point that it discourages research and innovation rather than supporting it. I thank Representative Stivers for his leadership on this important issue as we work together to make our patent system better for everyone.”
The STRONGER Patents Act would reverse that trend by standing up for small businesses that rely on patents by providing court-level standards at the United States Patents and Trademark Office and providing injunctive relief against those who infringe on patents. It also protects small patent owners and start-ups by eliminating harassing, duplicitous patent demand letters, many of which are often sent in bad faith by so-called “trolls.” By defining the process of sending superfluous demand letters as a “Deceptive and Unfair Act or Practice,” the STRONGER Patents Act is equipping the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the tools necessary to crack down on these trolls.
“Small businesses are our biggest job creators, and those that rely on patents consistently create high-paying jobs. So, this bill is not just about ensuring innovators can innovate, it’s about good-paying jobs and stimulating our local economies,” Stivers said.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.
Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel in space once said, “[y]oung girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose. … You can’t be what you can’t see.” As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to thank the women in every occupation who have pioneered, persevered, and ultimately propelled themselves into fields that are often dominated by men. Because in the process, they have set examples of empowerment, ambition, and leadership for young girls everywhere, including my daughter.
Take, for example, law enforcement and the military. According to a POLITICO survey, women held 14 percent of federal law enforcement jobs in 1996. In the last 22 years, that number has only increased by one percent, with women currently holding 15 percent of those positions. The military has similar numbers: just over 15 percent of our armed forces personnel are female. Thankfully, in Ohio, there are several women who haven’t let the statistics deter them from their goals.
Just last month, my alma mater – The Ohio State University – named its Officer of the Year. For the past decade, Officer Cassi Shaffer has committed herself to protecting and serving the Columbus campus and the Buckeye community. Through her daily interactions with the university community, she sets an example of compassion. Moreover, from her work as a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) instructor and team leader, to developing a Community Police Academy to engage with local community members, Officer Shaffer empowers others and is always looking for an opportunity to step up and help someone in need.
Likewise, Trooper Brittany Noah is a valuable resource for her community. A youth mentor and softball coach in her spare time, the East Clinton High School and Wilmington College graduate has served with the Wilmington Post since 2012. She was recently selected as the 2017 Ohio State Trooper of the Year, an honor she is certainly deserving of. Described as a leader among her peers, Trooper Noah conducts herself with professionalism and respect for others.
In Circleville, Deputy Brooke Darnell is both following in the footsteps of those before her and blazing the trail for the next generation. As the granddaughter, niece, and cousin of four law enforcement officers, Deputy Darnell said this was a path she always hoped to take. Now, as only the second female deputy with the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, she is setting an example for young women, including her 7 year-old sister. Deputy Darnell is also pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, demonstrating that hard work and ambition pay off.
Colonel Allison Miller also took what she calls “a huge step forward and a step forward for the State of Ohio,” as she assumed command of the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard last month. She is the first woman to lead a Wing, and now commands the 1,100 airmen of the 179th to provide tactical airlift capabilities for missions at home and abroad. Col. Miller, as both a mother and a commander, embodies servant leadership and constantly strives to better herself for her children and for those in her Wing.
Women like Officer Shaffer, Deputy Darnell, and Col. Miller have dedicated themselves to the service of others. Day in and day out, they work to improve their communities and keep their neighbors safe. Their hard work and commitment furthers their individual careers, and simultaneously paves the way for the women who will come after them. My daughter, and young girls across the country, will grow up knowing that they can be anything they want to be because they see the examples of women who are police officers, soldiers, doctors, businesswomen, or educators. And so, to the women who serve as role models and encourage girls to pursue all of their goals and to know that success is possible, thank you.
In recent weeks, I have seen countless articles and polls highlighting tax reform: according to a CNBC poll, confidence in small businesses is at an all-time high; 4 million workers and counting have received more than $3 billion in bonuses; 90 percent of Americans saw more money in their paychecks this month as the new withholding tables took effect.
But I did not need polls and articles to know why the majority of Americans are supportive of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law last year. I have heard from constituents right here in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District that are reaping the benefits and excited about their economic prospects.
On Main Street, small business owners and job creators are more confident than ever before in the future of their businesses. But there is optimism not just for those who already operate their own businesses. Many aspiring entrepreneurs, like Carolyn from Grove City, are excited about tax reform because it not only puts some startup money in her pocket, but because the simplified tax code has removed many barriers to entry that new businesses face. The tax code is now fairer, simpler, and allowing more people to pursue their American Dream.
Ohio’s businesses, small and large, are also doubling down on their commitment to help their employees pursue their Dreams. R+L Carriers, an international shipping company based in Wilmington, is offering all 13,000 workers bonuses of up to $1000. Nationwide Insurance is increasing their contributions to 29,000 employees’ 401(k) plans. These companies have long been partners in our communities, and I am glad that the tax reform bill is giving them the tools they need to help stimulate our local economies and support their employees and their families.
Most importantly, 90 percent of Americans now have a bigger paycheck, and while the extra income represents something different for each of them, they are all able to make day-to-day choices that are best for them and their families. Tamela in Amanda has been able to breathe a little bit easier – she says she has used her money for everyday expenses, like groceries. Nathaniel, from Hilliard, is excited to save the extra cash for a rainy day, in case of an emergency or for a larger purchase. Regardless of how they choose to spend their money, their ability to make a choice is proof that tax reform is working.
Tax reform means more money in your pocket. More money means more choices, more opportunities, and more people pursing their American Dream. If you have a story about how tax reform is helping you and your family, I invite you to share it with me on my website at www.stivers.house.gov.
Additionally, if you have questions about how tax reform will affect you or if you have questions about any other issue facing our country, I invite you contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2015, Hilliard office at (614) 771-4968, Lancaster office at (740) 654-2654, or Wilmington office at (937) 283-7049.
1022 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Raised in Ripley, Ohio, Steve Stivers learned from his mother and father the importance of family, hard work and public service, which have been the values he has carried with him through his life, whether as a student at The Ohio State University, a soldier serving overseas, as a State Senator, or as a Member of Congress.
Stivers is currently serving his third term as a Member of Congress and represents Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which is made up of 12 counties including: all of Athens, Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway, and Vinton counties, and parts of: Fayette, Franklin, and Ross counties.
Stivers is serving his third term his third term on the Financial Services Committee, which oversees the banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities industries. Members who serve on the committee also work on housing and consumer protection legislation and oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve Bank.
In addition, Stivers has been tapped to serve on the Committee on Rules, which is charged with determining which bills reach the House Floor for a vote. Historically, the Committee is often known as “The Speaker’s Committee” because it was chaired by the Speaker up until 1910 and is the means through which the Speaker of the House manages the House Floor. The Committee also determines how long and under what rules the full body of the House will debate each bill.
Throughout his career, Steve Stivers has led the way supporting programs and initiatives to encourage job creation, promote economic development, and put our country’s fiscal house in order. As he wrapped up a successful first term in office, two of Stivers veterans bills, the HIRE at Home Act and TRICARE for Kids, were rolled into the National Defense Authorization Act and signed into law by the President. In his second term in office, Stivers had two bills make their way to the President’s desk. These two bills, H.R. 1391 and H.R. 4189,would re-name two postal facilities located in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District after our fallen veterans. These bills are a small measure Congress can take to honor the lives of brave service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
Prior to running for Congress, Stivers served in the Ohio Senate and before that worked in the private sector for the Ohio Company and Bank One, where he focused on promoting economic development and encouraging job creation.
A career soldier, Stivers has served 29 years in the Ohio Army National Guard and holds the rank of Colonel. He served the United States overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar and Djibouti where he led 400 soldiers and contractors and is proud that each and every one returned home safely to the United States. Stivers received the Bronze Star for his leadership throughout the deployment.
Stivers received both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA from The Ohio State University and resides in Columbus with his wife, Karen, and children, Sarah and Sam.
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Main Street should be just as much of an incubator for innovation as Silicon Valley, but that's not possible if the… https://t.co/LHDrV1yCHM
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Serving with her on the House Rules Committee allowed me to see her passion and dedication to service first hand, a… https://t.co/JcXVbDYsvG