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Chabot, Connolly Introduce Bill to Help More Small Businesses Export

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 12:00am

Chabot, Connolly Introduce Bill to Help More Small Businesses Export

WASHINGTON – Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) have introduced H.R. 2586, the Export Coordination Act of 2015, a bill to improve the coordination of federal export promotion resources and to streamline the export process so that more small businesses can sell goods overseas.

“When it comes to exporting, most small businesses don’t know where to start,” said Chabot. “The process can be incredibly complex and the federal resources that are supposed to help them navigate the process are just as intimidating. The Export Coordination Act would streamline these resources and take steps to make the process easier for businesses.

Chabot added, “It is my hope that this bill – and other solutions that the Small Business Committee is currently working on – will open the door for more small businesses to sell their goods overseas, which ultimately provides more opportunities for working families.”

Congressman Connolly said, “The federal government stands ready to help small businesses access foreign markets and create jobs through exports. This bill will ensure that federal trade promotion agencies are reaching out to state and local partners and making access to these resources as straightforward as possible.

U.S. exports support more than 38 million American jobs – including 1 in 3 manufacturing jobs.  Despite the fact that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States, only 2 percent of all small businesses export their goods.

H.R. 2586 would require the United States Department of Commerce’s Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to clearly define each federal agency’s role in the export process, establish a central listing of all trade events, give state trade agencies a voice in setting our national export strategy, and reduce overlap of current export resources. 

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Dakota State University to Host U.S. Senate Cybersecurity Field Hearing

Senate Commerce will hold a full committee field hearing entitled “Confronting the Challenge of Cybersecurity" at Dakota State University.

European Court of Justice Ruling Adds to Challenges that U.S. Standard-Essential Patent Holders Face on Enforcement

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 1:11pm
Guest Commentary by Paul M. Bartkowski, a partner with Aducci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP, with Mike Doman, an associate with the firm. On July 16, 2015, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”), in Huawei v. ZTE, clarified the circumstances under which an owner of a standard essential patent (SEP) that is required to license the […]
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Unusual Crew Builds Cabin at Girl Scout Camp

WCOE News - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:20pm

The sounds of the work crew can be heard through the trees. Power tools are humming and hammers are busy driving nails. The crew is constructing a cabin in the woods. However, the work crew is not typically what one would expect to see on a construction site. This crew consists of 12 and 13 year old girls who are taking part in a construction project as part of their summer camp experience.

Jean Bjork, President of Bjork Construction in Oakland, CA and WCOE member, recently visited the Girl Scout camp near Murphys, CA to assist the girls in the construction of the cabin. During her stay, the crew completed the subfloor and walls. Later in the week, other women construction owners and workers would arrive to assist with the completion of the project.

Construction of the cabin serves two purposes. The first is to provide a unique program that exposes girls to the opportunities and challenges in working in construction. The second is to help rebuild deteriorating infrastructure at the camp.

Home Depot provides a bucket of tools for each attendee, which is hers for the week and to take home. Skills learned during the week include the use and safety precautions of power tools, the importance of precise measuring, as well as team-building and the self-esteem that is gained through accomplishment.

During her days at the camp, Jean shared her experiences working in the construction industry and talked about the construction field as a career choice. She found the program very rewarding and much needed to both help rebuild the camp and expose young girls to construction on a first hand basis.

Attending the camp provided a valuable experience to Jean and her daughter who accompanied her. This program, when duplicated throughout the country, has the potential to create future women leaders in the construction industry.

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GSA Awards BPAs for Identity Monitoring, Data Breach Response and Protection Services

GSA news releases - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 1:00am
GSA awards government-wide Federal Supply Schedule BPAs for identity monitoring, and data breach response and protection services.

WSJ: NLRB’s Joint Employer Attack

Education & the Workforce Committee - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 12:00am
The partisan National Labor Relations Board this week continued its radical campaign to transform America's workplaces by issuing a decision that redefines what its means to be an employer. Reps. John Kline (R-MN) and Phil Roe (R-TN) noted that the board's decision "set dangerous precedent" that will "threaten the livelihoods of men and women who achieved the dream of owning a small business and will make it even harder for others to pursue the same opportunity."

Today, the Wall Street Journal explains why labor unions are celebrating a decision that "upends thousands of business relationships": 

Ruining countless August vacations this week, the National Labor Relations Board’s Democratic majority handed down a new joint-employer standard that radically rewrites U.S. labor law and upends thousands of business relationships. The majority asserts that throwing out three decades of legal precedent is necessary “to encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining.” Labor unions are celebrating a decision sure to harm diverse industries in every state …
 
A major goal of the new rule is to pit corporate parents against their franchisees in collective bargaining. Last year NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin directed that McDonald’s be charged as a joint-employer in dozens of unfair labor practice complaints against franchises. Unions say corporations should be on the hook for their franchisees’ workers because computer systems can monitor sales and labor costs.
 
But under the new rule, there’s no limit on the number of parties that could be seated at the bargaining table. For example, West Coast tech companies such as Apple, eBay and Yahoo have contracted with the same private bus service, which the Teamsters have unionized. Would all these companies have to bargain individually with the Teamsters? What if they disagree? Could eBay’s labor agreement override Apple’s bus contract?
 
The majority dismisses the Republicans’ dissent as a “law-school-exam hypothetical of doomsday scenarios.” Perhaps the board had to pass the rule to find out what it does. Nor does the majority consider its economic implications. “It is not the goal of joint-employer law to guarantee the freedom of employers to insulate themselves from their legal responsibility to workers,” the majority writes …

To read more, click here.

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GSA Awards First Contracts For 18F Consulting Agile Marketplace BPA

GSA news releases - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 1:00am
Awarding of the first contracts for the Agile Marketplace Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), a new contracting vehicle from 18F Consulting.

Federal Circuit Reaffirms International Trade Commission’s Authority Over Induced Patent Infringement

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Contributor – Intellectual Property (Patents) Jeffri A. Kaminski, Venable LLP The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sitting en banc has reaffirmed the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) longstanding authority for remedying inducement infringement. The ITC authority was called into question, and in fact overruled, by an earlier panel decision in the […]
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With Recent Use of Disgorgement, FTC Continues to Sharpen its Enforcement Tools

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 11:02am
Featured Expert Column – Antitrust/Federal Trade Commission Andrea Agathoklis Murino, Goodwin Proctor LLP One need only check the headlines to see that enforcement of the antitrust laws is alive and well at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) today. On both the merger and conduct front, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition has proven incredibly active—and successful. […]
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Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates 2014 ‘En Banc’ Decision That Protects CAFA Removal Rights

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 1:31pm
Congress adopted the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) in 2005 in response to concerns that plaintiffs’ lawyers were gaming the system to prevent removal of class actions and “mass actions” (lawsuits with more than 100 named plaintiffs) from state court to federal court. CAFA provided state-court defendants the option of removing a case to federal […]
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Rep. Carter: Don’t Leave Working Americans in the Dark on Retirement Savings

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:00am

The Department of Labor is pushing a regulatory proposal that will make it harder for working families to save for retirement. In an op-ed featured in The Hill, Education and the Workforce Committee member Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) draws from his experience as a community pharmacist to explain how the proposal will negatively impact small business owners and the hardworking men and women they employ:

Having owned and operated community pharmacies for nearly thirty years, I take pride in having provided my employees with the tools they needed to achieve financial independence. One of the most important tools in this effort were retirement investment plans so they could save to retire comfortably.

Unfortunately the Obama administration is now taking steps threatening the ability for small businesses to provide their employees with this vital resource.  If the administration gets its way, many more employees will not have a retirement plan at work and will have to save on their own  by either paying unreasonable fees or getting their retirement advice online without one-on-one assistance.  Experts estimate Americans stand to lose $80 billion in retirement savings annually due to the rule.

The United States Department of Labor’s new regulation, known as the “fiduciary standard,” would leave many unable to save for retirement at all. It would prohibit any business with fewer than 100 employees from receiving investment information about its retirement plan options.  In doing so, it would render small businesses like the pharmacies I owned unable to help their employees plan and save for retirement.

Middle class families would be hit the hardest by this “fiduciary standard.”  By treating local financial representatives as fiduciaries, the proposed more than 400-page regulation would expand the Department of Labor’s overly-burdensome and complex pension rules to cover Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) used by most middle class savers.  The rule change ignores the fact that these accounts are already heavily regulated by existing securities laws.

By far the scariest consequence of the DOL regulation is how it would curtail access to retirement education for middle class savers and potential savers who would benefit most from one-on-one advice.  The regulation limits them to “managed accounts” where financial services firms charge a fee, usually around one percent, based on an account’s assets under management. Buy and hold or long-term savers would pay significantly more over the long run if charged an annual asset-based fee.

Moreover, the minimum balance required for managed accounts at most firms is at least $25,000 if not much, much more.  That would cut off as many as 20 million Americans whose accounts do not reach that threshold from receiving face-to-face retirement advice.

This misguided change would severely restrict access to information and education about retirement options for those already struggling to save.  Those with less than $25,000 to save and invest, would likely be forced to pay an hourly fee of $250-$500 for retirement advice, search blindly for advice on the Internet, or forgo saving at all.

Anyone who thinks the average middle class saver – who has less than $250 per month to save for retirement – is going to shell out $250 an hour or more for someone to give them retirement advice is out of their minds.  And if you think getting sound retirement advice online is easy, just Google it and see the many ads that overtake your screen.
 
This is a classic case of federal government stepping in the way of a Main Street success story with a “Washington bureaucrats know best” mentality.  Having had the privilege of helping my employees at the pharmacies save for their retirement, I know what cutting off this resource could mean for them and their families.

Like many small business owners, I consider my employees part of my family.  That’s why I am so committed to working with Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and the House Education and the Workforce Committee to block this rule change so they – and millions of working Americans like them – aren’t left in the dark when it comes to retirement savings.

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Statement on FCC Decision to Strip DISH Network of Auction Discount

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation chairman Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) decision that two DISH Network affiliates, SNR Wireless and Northstar Wireless, were not eligible for $3.3 billion in bidding credits:

“I applaud the FCC for taking meaningful action to address the questions I raised about the conduct of DISH and its two affiliates in the most recent spectrum auction. Howeve...

GSA Releases RFPs for Human Capital and Training Solutions Multiple Award Contracts

GSA news releases - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 1:00am
GSA Releases RFPs for Human Capital and Training Solutions

D.C. Circuit Weighs in, Once Again, on Privileged Corporate Documents in “KBR” Case

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 9:23am
Guest Commentary by Greg Brower and Brett W. Johnson, Snell & Wilmer LLP* Government contractors won another round in a long-running battle over the discoverability of internal investigation documents. On August 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found, for a second time in the same case, that the district court […]
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GSA’s City Pair Program Saves Billions for Federal Agencies

GSA news releases - Thu, 08/13/2015 - 1:00am
GSA Announces New Lease for TSA Headquarters

GSA Announces New Lease for TSA Headquarters

GSA news releases - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 1:00am
GSA Announces New Lease for TSA Headquarters

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