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Washington Watch - May 20, 2009

NASE Attends Obama Discussion On Small Business And Economy

President Barack Obama recently met with the NASE and the National Small Business Award winners to discuss how the Administration’s economic recovery efforts will benefit entrepreneurs. President Obama’s recovery efforts have worked to make small business lending more attractive to financial institutions still reeling from the collapse of the financial system last year.

The Administration has raised guarantees on SBA loans to 90 percent and eliminated various borrower and lender fees. The President’s budget proposal reduces the capital gains tax for investments in small or startup businesses and offers additional small business tax cuts.

“The place where you set up shop often isn’t just your business address, but it’s also your hometown, and sometimes it’s your home. And I know what you do to give back -- sponsoring sports leagues and service projects, serving on boards, donating to charities, mentoring other small business owners to help them be as successful as you are,” the President said. “So with all that you do for this nation, I think our nation’s government should be there to support you -- to help you grow and expand and succeed.”

President Obama reaffirmed his goal to pass broad health care reform this year. Based on NASE's 2008 health study, only one in five micro-businesses nationwide are currently providing employer-based coverage to full-time employees. The business owners cite the high cost of obtaining coverage as a major factor in that decision. Read remarks from the White House ceremony here.

The NASE advocates for a self-employment tax deduction on health insurance premiums, health care tax credits and the expanded eligibility requirements that would allow the self-employed to participate in health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). These small changes would drastically increase health care options for micro-businesses and the self-employed.

Visit the Advocacy Web site to learn more about the NASE's legislative priorities.


National Small Business Week: May 18th – 22nd

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), approximately 60 percent of Americans own or work for a small business. The NASE is again teaming up with the SBA to sponsor National Small Business Week 2009. For forty-six years, one week has been set aside annually in order to honor the contributions of the nation’s small business community.

"It has been a tough 12-18 months for the self-employed and micro-businesses,” said NASE President Robert Hughes. “This year’s Small Business Week, in particular, honors the established business who’s fallen on hard times, as well as the new venture who just needs some help to get started."

Many activities surrounding this week focus on small business financing, which has grown especially difficult to navigate in the current economic climate. The NASE works with the SBA to help increase access capital and lends our support to other federal initiatives that have proven helpful to micro-business growth, such as the 7(a) and 507 loan programs. This summer, America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loans are expected to be widely available to businesses. The new financing method carries no interest for the borrower and are 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA.

“These ARC loans can provide the critical capital and support many small businesses need to make it through these tough economic times,” said Administrator Karen G. Mills. “Together with other provisions of the Recovery Act, ARC loans will free up capital and put more money in the hands of small business owners when they need it the most. This will help viable small businesses continue to grow and thrive and create new jobs in communities across the country.”

For more information on National Small Business Week, please visit

Details on America’s Recovery Capital loans can be found at


Senate: Credit Cardholder Bill Of Rights Should Apply To Small Biz, Too
The Senate has passed legislation that would include protections for small businesses that use a credit card. The amendment is part of a bill designed to shelter consumers from abusive lending practices in the credit card industry and would include small businesses with 50 or fewer employees in these protections. It would also increase the current credit limit from $25,000 to $50,000 to adjust for inflation and for businesses with higher credit limits.

"Since the late 1990s, small businesses have steadily increased their reliance on credit cards as one of their largest sources of financing," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La), Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "The current lending crisis, however, has only exacerbated this trend. This amendment will help protect small business owners that use business credit cards or personal credit cards to finance their businesses, preventing layoffs and encouraging growth."

After its passage, the bill heads back to the House for approval. Lawmakers have expressed optimism that the bill will be ready for the President’s signature by Memorial Day.

Visit the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship online.


Interested In Free Publicity For Your Business?
The NASE helps bridge the gap between small-business owners and the media. When you share your personal experiences, you can help bring about positive change for the self-employed and micro-business owners. Plus, you and your business can receive free publicity!

Become a media contact by clicking here.

Lawmakers and media outlets across the country rely on and regularly cite the NASE as a source of small and micro-business expertise. Help the NASE make sure the micro-business perspective is heard by taking this month’s poll.

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