Making Washington work for Small Business

Mar 22, 2017
Ranking Member
House Committee on Small Business
“Making Washington Work for Small Business”
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, representing more than 99 percent of all businesses. These small firms employ nearly 50 percent of all private-sector employees in the U.S. 
At the same time, one out of every ten Americans are self-employed --and another seven percent of American workers are actively trying to start a business.  
These trailblazers – both new entrepreneurs and small, growing firms -- animate the American economy. They take great risks by launching new ventures, developing new products, establishing new industries and, ultimately, spurring job growth.  
As we look to foster and encourage this type of risk taking and entrepreneurship, there are a range of policy areas that come into play.   Federal regulation, for example, is a fundamental tool of government used to implement public policy.  They serve to protect workers and clarify how our nation’s laws are implemented. Most regulations serve an important purpose – like ensuring food is safe to eat and our air and water remain unpolluted. 
In fact, according to a recent poll by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, and the Small Business Majority, 86 percent of small business owners see regulations as a necessary part of a modern economy. 
Of course, we must always be mindful of the burdens and compliance costs certain regulations impose on smaller companies. But, we must also bear in mind that regulations and regulatory certainty are needed to protect the public health – and can even be necessary for economic growth.   
Just as regulations are part of a thriving and modern economy, so is access to affordable, quality health insurance. Seven years ago, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act.  Since then, about 22 million people have secured coverage. These gains have been significant for small business employees as their uninsured rate fell from 27 percent to less than 20 percent between 2013 and 2015.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican health care bill – or TrumpCare – would rip away health insurance from 14 million Americans -- in the first year alone. That number jumps to 24 million over a decade – nearly doubling the share of Americans who are uninsured. 
And of particular note for small employers is the elimination of the small business health care tax credit. Rather than improving this provision to make it work better for small firms, TrumpCare simply eliminates it. 
Slash and burn proposals like this leave little optimism for making bipartisan headway in other areas like tax reform. 
That’s unfortunate, because I think everyone on this Committee agrees on the need for reforming our tax code. Simplifying the tax code would give small businesses greater certainty and allow them to spend their time and resources on what they do best -- creating new jobs in their local communities.  
 I am grateful that we are here today to learn how Congress can serve the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs, so they can help grow our economy. The difficulty will be identifying tangible, bipartisan solutions we can all get behind -- and hopefully implement. 
In that regard, the small business community’s input will be critical. This Committee does its best work when we hear firsthand from small businesses.  
In that regard, I look forward to today’s testimony. Let me thank the witnesses for your participation and yield back. 
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