Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Hosts Twitter Chat: Small Biz Hill Update

twitter chat capitol hill

Were you able to participate in our Twitter chat with House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot and Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council?

If you participated or watched the chat session unfold, thank you. The more people we get involved in these, the more impact we’ll have. And if you weren’t able to be there, I will briefly mention some of the topics we touched on and give you some links so you can do additional research.

Chairman Chabot outlined his priorities for this session of Congress:

  • Improving access to capital,
  • Increasing exports,
  • Reducing over-regulation, and
  • Reforming the tax code.

Some bills are working their way through Congress that could have some impact on these issues for small business owners. Exactly, how big that impact would be is unknown. Here are some of the bills you might want to keep your eye on.

H.R. 527: Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015. The House has passed this bill sponsored by Chairman Chabot and it is awaiting action in the Senate. If signed into law, it would require regulators to better communicate the effect regulations would have on business and see if proposed regulations would have a disproportionate effect on small organizations, including small businesses.

S. 226: The REINS Act (Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015). This would require Congress to approve all major regulations. If Congress fails to take action on a proposed regulation, the regulation would not go into effect. This bill, sponsored by Senator Rand Paul, is in committee.

Kerrigan pointed out that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has been changed more than 50 times since its passage and another change may be on the way. The bill defines companies with between 51 and 100 employees as “small businesses.” H.R. 1624 and S. 1099 give states the flexibility to define companies of this size as large businesses.

The problem is that the number of health insurance companies working with small businesses is more limited than the number working with large firms. If enacted, this change should give these businesses more options when they shop for health insurance and this might help slow the rate of premium hikes.

H.R. 1023: Small Business Investment Company Capital Act of 2015. This increases the amount of money the Small Business Administration is authorized to lend from $225 million to $350 million.

The issue of trade also came up during the Twitter chat. Participants, including Kerrigan and Chairman Chabot, believe that the trade pacts Congress expects to see in the near future will benefit small business. Chairman Chabot pointed out that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. Increased free trade should improve the ability of small business owners to sell to this market.

However, lawmakers – and the public – will not get to see the actual language of the agreements until they are totally finalized, although negotiations have been underway for years. At that time lawmakers will be able to vote up or down on the entire packages. No amendments can be proposed.

Chairman Chabot shared a great link with the Twitter chatters – It’s a page on the House Small Business Committee’s website that lets you tell your small business story and share the problems you have that could be solved or eased by changes in our laws.

Finally, you might want to get familiar with the committee’s website and book mark to see how specific bills are progressing through Congress.

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Image: Capitol Hill from the lawn, © 201 Aditya Srinivasan, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.