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Washington Watch - June 22, 2011


Deficit  Reduction, Debt Ceiling Talks Continue

Deficit reduction talks continue in the House and Senate as Vice President Joe Biden works to broker a deal between Republicans and Democrats, in an effort to come to an agreement that will allow Congress to raise the nation's $14.3 billion debt ceiling.

A chasm still exists between Democrats, who wish to cut spending and cut tax breaks for the wealthy, and Republicans, who refuse tax increases and would rather focus on cutting entitlement spending. Biden is working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers with the goal of coming to an agreement by July 1st. That would give Congress a month to finalize the legislation, vote on it and analyze amendments if need be to reach an August 2nd deadline. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had previously stated that he can delay a government default until that date.

Earlier this week, Senate lawmakers indicated a willingness to pass several short-term debt ceiling increases, while top House lawmakers have frowned upon dragging the process out in such a way.

Stay tuned to Washington Watch for updates on this topic.


7 Ways To Help Entrepreneurs Help The Economy (The Atlantic)

The NASE was recently featured in The Atlantic for our views on extending the self-employment tax deduction and permanently increasing the deductible funds to $10,000 for startups.

Read the entire article here.


House Committee For Small Business Holds Hearing On Regulation Flexibility

On June 15, the House Committee on Small Business held a full committee meeting entitled, “Lifting the Weight of Regulations: Growing Jobs by Reducing Regulatory Burdens.”

The hearing examined H.R. 527, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act of 2011, and H.R. 585, the Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act of 2011. The two bills are designed to remove loopholes in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), and strengthen the power of the Office of the Chief Counsel for Advocacy.

House Republicans remained adamant in their call for regulatory reform. Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said although regulations have a place in government, he supports the Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act of 2011 as it will require federal agencies to better assess the impact of regulations on small businesses and other entities.

Meanwhile, Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) explained that regulations and rules are not the problem of greatest concern amongst small business owners. Furthermore, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) said more government and private stewardship is needed in order to grow the economy.

The NASE is highly supportive of the Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act of 2011, as it will allow small business representatives to become more active in the creation of rules and regulations facing the industry. It is unfortunate that a similar bill, Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) Freedom from Restrictive Excessive Executive Demands and Onerous Mandates Act of 2011 did not pass the 60 vote threshold in the Senate.


House Small Business Hearing On Dodd-Frank’s Impact On Small Biz Lending

The June 16th hearing, “The Dodd-Frank Act: Impact on Small Business Lending,” was called by the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Capital Access and Tax. The hearing was sprinkled with mixed reviews of the Dodd-Frank Act, while highlighting the importance of considering its effects on small business during the rule-making process. The House Republicans have continued efforts to repeal or weaken this sweeping Wall Street reform bill moved by the Democratic Congress last year.

The hearing was led by Chairman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and called representatives from three financial institutions and William Daley, the Legislative and Policy Director of Main Street Alliance. The testimonies from Thomas Boyle of the State Bank of Countryside, Mark Sekula of the Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, and Greg M. Ohlendorf of First Community Bank and Trust echoed a similar sentiment concerning the burdening cost of compliance, the overreach of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the restrictions on lending dollars and liquidity. Ohlendorf particularly hailed the debit interchange, or “Durbin,” amendment, placing a cap on the debit card swipe fee collected by banks, as the most troubling aspect of the Dodd-Frank Act. The NASE has written about this amendment in previous editions of Washington Watch.

Daley, the former mayor of Olympia, Washington, testified to the Dodd-Frank Act’s benefits for small business, specifically swipe-fee reforms, the CFPB, and the restored focus on traditional lending. He later referenced tactics, such as repealing legislation that offers interest on reserve dollars, to tap into the $1.2 trillion in bank reserves as a means to increase the availability of capital.

Read more about the hearing here.


Washington Watch Online

Visit NASE Advocacy to view archived editions of Washington Watch. While you’re there, read the latest updates from the Washington, D.C. office, write your Congressperson, and find out how you can join the fight for micro-business.

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