Straight Talk: Small Business Week
Next week is the 51st annual National Small Business Week, a time designated to celebrate the importance of small firms to the economy. Many Members of the Committee will be visiting small businesses in their districts. Small businesses need our support in our communities, and they also need some changes in Washington, D.C.
During the last five years, small businesses have faced numerous roadblocks to growth, including economic uncertainty, mounting regulations, higher taxes, and burdensome requirements from the health care law. These policies stifle growth. In fact, a new NFIB study shows that ObamaCare's Health Insurance Tax will cost the economy up to 286,000 jobs, and 57 percent of those jobs would be from small businesses. Last quarter, the economy flattened to 0.1 percent growth. Even so, the Senate continues to ignore nearly 40 growth and jobs bills passed by the House.
Small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs need economic growth and certainty to plan their expansions and investments. When small firms grow, the benefits spread throughout the economy. Next week, we encourage everyone to "shop small" and shop locally in appreciation of the nation's 28 million small businesses.
Latest Committee Action
On Wednesday, the Committee highlighted privately led initiatives that are helping veterans apply their skills to become entrepreneurs. The hearing focused on veteran-owned small businesses, and private sector efforts that are helping veterans succeed. Veterans who have served since 2001 face higher unemployment rates than the rest of the population, and by 2040, they will make up more than 50 percent of the total veteran population. While facing challenges in transitioning to new civilian jobs after time in the military, returning service members possess leadership skills that naturally translate to entrepreneurship. Several private sector initiatives are having success in guiding our nation's heroes as they transfer unique skills gained during military service to the world of business.
Contracting reform legislation initiated by the Committee is moving forward. On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee reported the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes these small business bills. Last month, Chairman Graves and Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce Chairman Richard Hanna (R-NY), with the support of Small Business Committee Member and Armed Services Committee Member Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), testified before the Armed Services Committee in support of including contracting reforms in the NDAA. Read the news report by Bloomberg BNA.
News from Washington
On Wednesday, with bipartisan support, the House passed a resolution calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to independently investigate the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, and passed a second resolution holding former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify about the actions of the IRS division that she led. More information is available here.
On Thursday, the House passed legislation establishing a Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Libya. The new bipartisan Select Committee will continue to conduct the House's oversight responsibilities.
On Friday, the House passed the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (HR 10) to improve access to charter schools and provide more educational choices to parents. The bill reauthorizes strengthens the Charter School Program. This week has been designated National Charter Schools Week. Read more here.
Also on Friday, the House passed the bipartisan American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2014 (HR 4438), which preserves the research and development tax credit to promote innovations. The tax credit is an incentive that recognizes investment that can lead to breakthroughs in technology or other areas and generate growth and jobs.
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