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House Small Business Committee

Graves' Statement on Tax Day and the Small Business Tax Burden

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:00am
Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today released the following statement on Tax Day and the effects of tax policies on small businesses:

“Every year, the tax burden becomes more costly for America’s 28 million small businesses. The tax code is increasingly complicated and changes often. Most small businesses spend 40 hours or more preparing their taxes, and four out of ten businesses spend two full workweeks on compliance. That is a high cost in lost time and productivity for a small business. One in three small firms spends $10,000 on compliance. Jobs are still scarce, and the combined burdens of complex taxes and high rates are obstacles to growth. The jobs-stifling tax code is not just a Tax Day problem for small companies, but a year-round burden on their budgets that can impact their entrepreneurial decisions. Small businesses overwhelmingly support sensible reforms for lower rates, simpler preparation and clearer guidelines.”

Last week, the Small Business Committee examined these very challenges for small businesses. The growing number of tax provisions means that owners must spend significant resources on compliance that could otherwise be spent growing their companies. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s own National Taxpayer Advocate, there were over 500 changes to the tax code in 2010 alone, an average of more than one per day. And the steep tax rates mean small firms have less capital to invest back into hiring or expanding.

The National Small Business Association released a survey on April 9, 2014, in conjunction with the testimony of NSBA member Tim Reynolds, a small business executive. The growing complexity of the tax process causes 86 percent of small businesses to pay tax preparers.

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E&E News: In final House appearance, Perciasepe spars with Republicans over waters rule, trust issues

House Small Business Committee News - 23 hours 42 min ago

 E&E News: In final House appearance, Perciasepe spars with Republicans over waters rule, trust issues
By Amanda Peterka, E&E Reporter
July 31, 2014 

The House Small Business Committee yesterday sent departing U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe off with a contentious hearing over agency regulations.
 
Throughout the hearing, House lawmakers sparred over the agency's recent proposal to define which waters of the United States are included under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. They jumped on comments by Perciasepe that the rule would not have a direct impact on small businesses or expand the scope of EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act.
 
It was Perciasepe's last time in the congressional hot seat before he leaves EPA in a couple of weeks to head a climate change group. Although Perciasepe did not give an inch in defending the waters rule, he expressed a desire for the agency to work more with Congress.
 
"I'm trying to explain what our intent is and trying to build a bridge," he said.
 
But Republican members of the committee said there were deep trust issues impeding cooperation.
 
"Nobody trusts the EPA," Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said.
 
Perciasepe, who has been the agency's longest-serving deputy administrator, will take the helm of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions on Aug. 11, succeeding Eileen Claussen. EPA announced his departure two weeks ago.
 
During his time as deputy administrator, Perciasepe has taken the brunt of congressional furor over agency rulemakings, appearing as the agency's representative at numerous hearings.
 
Though yesterday's hearing touched at times on EPA's long-awaited rules for reducing carbon dioxide emissions at power plants, talk of the waters rule dominated the hearing. The proposed rule released earlier this year seeks to clarify which streams and wetlands receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act.
 
Farmers have lashed out at the proposal, calling it a federal power grab and raising concerns that they would be required to obtain permits for everyday farming activities.

Perciasepe sought to quell some of those concerns, saying that the rule that merely defines where other parts of the Clean Water Act will apply.

"If you have a permit now, you have to get a permit under this. But if you don't have to get a permit now, it's most likely you would not need a permit under this," he said.

But House Small Business Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that before issuing the rule, the agency should have gone through the Regulatory Flexibility Act, a law that requires an agency to convene small-business review panels to determine potential impacts.

"I think a lot of these concerns may have been identified if the EPA had complied with the RFA," he said.

Perciasepe said EPA determined that the rule would not have direct impacts on small businesses.

"It doesn't directly impose any requirements on anybody if they're not discharging pollutants," he said. "So it doesn't directly impact large businesses or small businesses in any way."

But those comments drew some scorn and disbelief from Republican members of the committee. Not going through that review process is "either extremely naïve and incompetent, or it's arrogance to the highest degree," said Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).

Even ranking member Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) said she was concerned that EPA hadn't more fully examined the rule's impact on small businesses.

"I just do not understand how do you come to the conclusion that there is not direct impact on small entities, because you haven't provided us the process in which you arrived to that conclusion," she said.

But Velazquez distanced herself from statements made at the hearing that Congress -- both Republicans and Democrats -- do not trust the agency and believe it should completely start over with the waters rule.
Perciasepe also said he doesn't believe "that most people don't trust EPA" and dismissed the idea of withdrawing the rule. Congress, he said, has put the agency in a difficult position in light of Supreme Court directions that the agency clarify the scope of its authority over waters in the United States.

"I have a Supreme Court chief who's saying, 'Why don't the agencies do this?'" Perciasepe said. "There are three branches of government. I have one branch [the legislative] who wrote to me when I was acting administrator saying please do a rulemaking. Now I have that branch saying maybe we should withdraw it."

But those comments led one lawmaker, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), to accuse Perciasepe of falling back on the Supreme Court and not taking responsibility for EPA's actions. Perciasepe was "not going anywhere" with his testimony if the goal was increasing the trust between EPA and Congress, he said.

Members of the committee only briefly acknowledged Perciasepe's impending departure.

"I got to give you a lot of credit," Collins said. "I think you knew you were coming into the lion's den today, and here you are. It's hard to defend the indefensible, and that's what your agency has sent you to do."

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Telemedicine Is Transforming How Small Medical Practices Provide Care, Reducing Costs

House Small Business Committee News - 23 hours 42 min ago
The Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, under the chairmanship of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), today conducted a hearing to examine how small medical practices are using telemedicine to expand their reach and grow their businesses.

Telemedicine usually refers to medical diagnoses and patient care when the provider and patient are separated by distance, but able to interact through technology. For example, a new mobile health small business launched a new product yesterday that allows people to see a doctor virtually via video conference on a smartphone. According to a recent study, the number of households using video consultations for medical care will grow from 900,000 in 2013 to 22.6 million in 2018.

“Over the past few years, there has been a lot of debate about reforming America’s health care system,” said Chairman Collins. “One of the best ways to reform health care and reduce costs is to allow the private sector to improve the industry through innovation and increased access. Telemedicine is the type of tool that does this, and we should fully embrace it. Some physicians and telemedicine advocates are concerned that regulatory barriers will keep this cost-saving and useful technology from reaching its full potential. Washington must work with the medical community to make sure technological advances, like telemedicine, are able to thrive so that they improve the quality and affordability of care.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Dr. Karen Rheuban, Senior Associate Dean for CME and External Affairs Director at the University of Virginia Center for Telehealth in Charlottesville, VA said, “Telehealth is an essential tool to address the significant challenges of access to high quality care for both acute and chronic disease management, to mitigate workforce shortages, improve population health and lower cost of care. There are many opportunities for small practices to integrate telehealth models into every-day practice. However, even for large healthcare systems, managing and navigating the complex legal and regulatory environment which impacts the practice of healthcare using telehealth tools can be challenging. For small group practices and solo practitioners, telehealth holds great promise, but the administrative and regulatory challenges can be overwhelming. Thus it is imperative that we create and promulgate policies that foster certainty, transparency, high quality, secure and sustainable solutions that empower patients, providers and payers to adopt 21st Century models of care.”

Dr. Brenda Dintiman, FAAD at Fair Oaks Skin Care Center in Fairfax, VA said, “I have faced several barriers to most effectively providing care via telemedicine. While I face these barriers as a physician, it is ultimately the patients – often the most economically vulnerable – that are the most directly affected. The largest barrier as noted is reimbursement for telehealth services. Without assured reimbursement, providers and patients are unlikely to utilize telehealth. While Virginia law addresses coverage for telehealth services, this does not guarantee access with all private insurance and many states do not have similar policies.”

Ms. Maggie Basgall, Community Development Specialist for Nex-Tech in Lenora, KS said,“Telemedicine already offers health care providers numerous ways to better serve patients, and many more exciting innovations are on the horizon. The desire for advanced telemedicine already exists, but now we must supply – and then sustain – the robust broadband capability, funding, and education to spur increased adoption of the services across the country.”

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EPA Has Lost Credibility With Land Owners, Small Business, Committee Republicans Say

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:00am

Bloomberg BNA: EPA Has Lost Credibility With Land Owners, Small Business, Committee Republicans Say
By Dean Scott
June 10, 2014

 

House Small Business Committee Republicans told a top Environmental Protection Agency official July 30 that the agency has lost credibility with farmers, land owners and small businesses over an April proposal they fear would expand EPA jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to farm ditches and other minor streams.

EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sought to allay what he said were misconceptions about the proposed waters of the U.S. rule, which the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled in March and published April 21 (79 Fed. Reg. 22,187).

The joint proposal would bring under federal jurisdiction all tributaries of streams, lakes, ponds and impoundments as well as wetlands that affect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of navigable downstream waters (77 DER A-13, 4/22/14).

Perciasepe said the rule, which would clarify the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over the nation's waters and wetlands, would only apply to waterways that have a significant “nexus” in affecting downstream navigable waters. He said the agency makes every effort to seek input on its regulatory proposals and that the regulations generally would not cover minor waterways, such as roadside ditches, as long as they don't affect water quality of larger waterways downstream.

Unwarranted Expansion of Jurisdiction?

But Republicans, including Reps. Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.), said the EPA has grown tone deaf to concerns that it has overreached with its regulatory agenda under President Barack Obama.

“The farmers don't trust you, land owners don't trust you, and the public doesn't trust you,” Collins said.

Republicans said the agency's Clean Water Act jurisdiction rulemaking is an unwarranted expansion of EPA jurisdiction and fear the regulations could require permitting of roadside and farm ditches, groundwater seepage and other minor waters. Republicans on the panel pressed Perciasepe to ensure the agency applies more broadly Regulatory Flexibility Act provisions that require the EPA to seek input from small businesses on its rulemakings.

Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said he had to push the agency repeatedly over the last year to get an EPA official to testify before the panel on how its rules affect small businesses. EPA's recent rulemakings “are an unprecedented power grab that are infringing on the rights of both the individual and small business owner,” Graves said.

Perciasepe, a longtime EPA employee, is leaving his post as deputy EPA administrator in August to head the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. He will succeed another former high-level EPA official, Eileen Claussen (138 DEN A-2, 7/18/14)(138 DER A-17, 7/18/14).

 

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Committee Challenges EPA’s Failure to Assess Regulatory Impact on Small Business

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:00am
The House Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today conducted an oversight hearing to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency is assessing the impacts of its rules on small businesses as required by law.

The Committee examined the EPA’s failure to assess the economic impacts of both the recently issued “waters of the United States” proposed rule and the proposed rules to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants on small businesses. Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the EPA must thoroughly assess how these rules would impact small businesses and consider ways to reduce the rules’ negative consequences. It must also conduct outreach to small businesses before the rules are proposed to get direct input from small businesses. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe testified.
 
“The EPA’s power grab goes beyond the agency’s mission and infringes on the rights of individuals and small business owners, and it will potentially have costly economic consequences,” said Chairman Graves. “The EPA must withdraw the costly ‘waters’ rule, and reevaluate these decisions entirely. Congress passed the RFA precisely to protect small businesses from this kind of regulatory overreach. The EPA fell far short of its obligations, and must do more to ensure small businesses do not bear the brunt of a regulatory burden that was not properly assessed. The Committee has alerted small businesses and raised serious objections to these rules, and I urge the EPA to fulfill its responsibilities to small businesses. Assessing the impacts of regulations on small businesses is not a choice, it’s an obligation and the EPA must comply with the law.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

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ADVISORY: Committee To Hold Hearings With EPA Deputy Administrator And On The Use Of Telemedicine By Small Medical Practices

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:00am

Week Ahead for the Committee: July 28-August 1

Committee To Hold Hearings With EPA Deputy Administrator And On The Use Of Telemedicine By Small Medical Practices

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Small Business Committee, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today announced the schedule for the week of July 28, 2014:
 
On Wednesday, July 30, at 1:00 p.m., the Committee will conduct a hearing titled "Regulatory Overreach: Is EPA Meeting Its Small Business Obligations?” The hearing will focus on the proposed rules to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants pursuant to the President’s Climate Action Plan and the recently issued “waters of the United States” proposed rule.
 
“Our Committee has been active in exposing the EPA’s regulatory overreach on some of their latest proposed rules,” said Chairman Graves. “Many of their proposals will have a detrimental impact on our economy and small business growth. However, the EPA does not assess the effects of its rules on small businesses as required by law. We look forward to hearing from EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe about the EPA’s process for analyzing the consequences of its regulations as they affect small business.”

On Thursday, July 31, at 10:00 a.m., the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, under the chairmanship of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), will conduct a hearing titled “Telemedicine: A Prescription for Small Medical Practices?" The purpose of the hearing is to examine how small medical practices are using telemedicine to expand their reach and grow their business. Members will hear from experts and physicians about telemedicine challenges and how Washington may be contributing to some of those challenges.
 
“Technology is quickly changing the way many small companies do business, and this is definitely true for the health care industry and how small medical practices provide care,” said Chairman Collins. “Telemedicine can help overcome many physical, geographical and socioeconomic challenges. This hearing will examine whether or not Washington has caught up with this useful technology.”

Watch the hearing live HERE.

Event Details:
Wednesday, July 30, 1:00 p.m. EDT
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Small Business Committee
Regulatory Overreach: Is EPA Meeting Its Small Business Obligations?

Thursday, July 31, 10:00 a.m. EDT
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology
Telemedicine: A Prescription for Small Medical Practices? 

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Small Agriculture Businesses Advocate For New SBA Size Standard

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:00am

The Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, under the chairmanship of Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), today held a hearing to examine the small business size standard for agricultural businesses. The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether the current standard accurately reflects the structural and economic realities of modern small agriculture production operations and evaluate whether it should be changed to better fit today’s industry and increase participation in federal procurement, as well as improve regulatory analysis of how new rules affect small businesses.  

The Small Business Act authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish small business size standards, which are normally either employee or revenue-based. Unlike the size standards established for all other industries by the SBA, the size standard for agriculture enterprises are statutorily established. In 1984, SBA lowered the size standard for small agricultural enterprises to $100,000 in annual receipts from $500,000. Congress believed this was too low, and would exclude the vast majority of family farms, so in 1985 the size standard was increased to $500,000. In 2000, Congress updated the size standard to $750,000 in annual receipts.
 
"Today’s hearing provided a necessary dialogue about whether the agriculture size standard is adequate for today’s economy,” said Chairman Tipton. “The wrong size standard may harm legitimately small agricultural producers by denying them access to SBA programs, such as the federal contracting programs and loan programs. Additionally, many federal agencies view these standards as the default small business size standard when considering their obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires agencies to analyze how their rules will affect small entities. In the coming months, this Committee will continue exploring solutions to the problems we heard today, including whether the current statutory standard needs be updated and the best process for doing so.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Mark Oestman, Owner of Oestman Farms, LLC in Eckley, Colorado said, “I believe that the Small Business Administration should seriously consider substantially raising the arbitrary $750,000 [size standard] in receipts that currently exists for agriculture producers. The dynamics of today’s farms and farmers, especially those who farm as their sole source of income, have changed dramatically and I believe the limit should as well. Due to factors largely out of a farmer’s control, my total receipts and expenses can change dramatically from year to year, and I believe that SBA standards should take many of those factors into consideration and increase the standard."
 
Ken Keesaman, Owner of KK Farms Red Angus in Osborn, Missouri said, “The evolution of today’s livestock industry has shifted and in order for family businesses to survive we have expanded and diversified our operations. In terms of agriculture, today’s small business has changed and it is appropriate for the size standards applied by the Small Business Administration to more accurately represent today’s small operations. It is my understanding that agriculture is the only industry where the statute establishes our size standard. With that being the case, Congress must change the statue and consider alternatives to the current size standards so they more accurately reflect today’s small businesses.”

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Committee Examines Reforms to SBIR/STTR Programs

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00am
The House Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today examined the progress of recent programmatic changes to both the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Under Chairman Graves’ leadership, Congress reauthorized the programs three years ago along with requirements that the agencies implement various reforms that will help spur wider participation from small firms and more effective commercialization of products.

Today’s oversight hearing was the second of two hearings examining the agencies’ compliance with those changes. The first hearing focused on the private sector impressions of the programs. Today, the Committee focused on oversight of the public sector role, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“Small businesses are great sources of innovation, so investments in research and development of the best ideas spurs economic growth and creates jobs,” said Chairman Graves. “The SBIR and STTR programs are effective tools to help bring promising ideas to the marketplace. The most recent reauthorization of these programs included some important steps to increase commercialization and generate wider participation by small businesses.  Today’s testimony helped us learn more about the agencies’ progress, and in some cases, the need for us to continue to monitor these efforts.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Javier Saade, Associate Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation, United States Small Business Administration, Washington DC, said, “These programs make up the largest seed investing pool on the globe. While we are still the undisputed world leader in innovation, we are not alone and many countries are making serious commitments to their own innovation efforts… We need to continue to invest in our future as others catch up so that we may be able to maintain our leadership for the 21st Century.”

Andre Gudger, Director, Office of Small Business Programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, Washington, DC, said, “The programs are tools for the Department of Defense (DoD) to seed innovation in our industrial base, and, in so doing, develop leading-edge technologies with the potential to meet warfighter needs, today and in the future. Now, more than ever, we need to leverage the responsiveness, efficiency, capability, and technological innovation our nation’s small businesses provide.”

Dr. Matthew Portnoy, Program Manager, NIH SBIR/STTR, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, said, “Among the 11 Federal departments and agencies that participate in these programs, the NIH is one of the largest funders of this program, and the largest Federal supporter of biomedical research. The SBIR/STTR programs continue to be critical to feeding the innovation pipeline that promises to deliver the medical advances of tomorrow and have complemented NIH's mission to advance science while bringing new health care solutions to the public.”

Marie Mak, Acting Director, Acquisition & Sourcing Management Team, General Accountability Office, Washington, DC, said, “While we recognize there are challenges to improving transition data, we continue to believe it is important for DOD to develop and implement a plan for obtaining more comprehensible and reliable measures of transition. Without better information on technology transition, questions will remain as to whether the DOD SBIR program is providing the right technologies at the right time to users, using effective approaches to select, develop, and transition technologies, and providing tangible benefits.”

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Committee Examines Onerous Licensing Barriers for Entrepreneurs

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:00am
The House Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today examined the barriers that certain state licensing requirements impose on entrepreneurs and individuals seeking economic opportunity, and how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can utilize advocacy and enforcement of federal anti-trust laws to prohibit anticompetitive regulations.

On March 26, 2014, the Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce held a hearing with testimony from entrepreneurs who encountered licensing obstacles to starting small businesses, even when those licenses did not directly apply to their business ideas or protect public health and safety. Today’s second hearing expanded the Committee’s examination of these challenges by looking at the FTC’s role in combating onerous licensure through the enforcement of federal anti-trust laws that promote competition. Andrew Gavil, Director of the Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission, testified.

“Sixty years ago, only 5 percent of occupations required state licenses. Since then, the number of occupations subject to these requirements has soared to nearly 30 percent, and in many cases, these rules impose a significant regulatory burden on small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Chairman Graves. “Licensing regulations create barriers to work that disproportionately affect lower and middle-class Americans. As state licensing boards are typically comprised of people from that profession, their decisions about who can enter their profession can reduce competition. It is important that these regulations are narrowly tailored to provide a public benefit without unfairly limiting opportunities. As the Committee continues examining ways to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship, the FTC’s testimony today was insightful regarding the agency’s role in protecting a free market.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quote:

Andrew Gavil, Director, Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC, said, “[Licenses] can protect consumers from actual health and safety risks and support other valuable public policy goals. However, that does not mean that all licensure is warranted and, most importantly in our experience, it does not mean that the benefits of all of the specific restrictions imposed on occupations are sufficient to justify the harm they can do to competition and mobility in the workforce. We have seen many examples of licensure restrictions that likely impede competition and hamper entry into professional and services markets, yet offer few, if any, significant consumer benefits. In these situations, regulations may lead to higher prices, lower quality services and products, and less convenience for consumers.”

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EPA's Backyard Blitz Imperiled

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:00am

EPA's Backyard Blitz Imperiled
​By Chairman Sam Graves

President Ronald Reagan once said our “government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Twenty-eight years later, anyone who cashes a paycheck, files their taxes, picks up the local newspaper or turns on the TV knows these words ring true just as they did in 1986.

Back home in Missouri, I frequently speak with people who are worried about our out-of-control federal government. It does not take much effort to see what is happening in Washington. Government bureaucrats at the IRS, the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Energy are becoming increasingly aggressive, and the biggest bully of the bunch, by far, is the Environmental Protection Agency.

During this administration, the EPA has overreached time and time again, seeking to accomplish by regulation what normally becomes law through legislation.

Several years ago, the EPA tried to regulate farm dust, which would impact family farms and agriculture producers. Then it went after wood burning stoves used for inexpensive home heating. Now, the president and the EPA are trying to force some of the most crushing regulations on coal power plants in history. What will this mean for my constituents, small businesses and Americans around the country? Higher electric bills.

But few regulations are more damaging and intrusive than the EPA’s proposed rule to give bureaucrats in Washington a stronger foothold in our backyards. The recent EPA and Army Corps of Engineers “Waters of the U.S.” proposed rule would give the government control over thousands of small streams, ditches and ponds on private property, some of which may contain little or no water. In bypassing Congress and without the consent of the governed, the EPA’s egregious agenda is poised to smother economic activity and job growth.

After a lengthy period of intense public outcry and bipartisan objections from lawmakers, including from the Small Business Committee, which I chair, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers delayed the rule. This is good, right? After all, a longer period to review this proposal allows Americans more time to voice their concerns to the EPA. However, the agencies haven’t been forthcoming about the rule’s actual consequences for small businesses, which makes it more deceiving and difficult to comprehend.

What we already know is that the EPA’s new federal regulatory scheme employs arbitrary, ambiguous, and confusing terms to vastly expand the size and scope of its authority. Yet, the agencies have failed to assess the impacts of the proposed rule on small businesses as the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires. As a result, the proposed rule is actually creating more confusion for businesses. And, slow-walking its proposed rule will do little to dispel the many fears held by property owners and small businesses around the country. It would be wiser to simply withdraw the rule altogether.

The EPA’s overreach is nothing new. With so much at stake, Congress needs to have more say when the EPA comes out with rules that will significantly impact our economy, and we should be given an up-or-down vote. The EPA should be required to take a second look at regulations already on the books, and further regulation should not take place until this happens.

The president has made clear that his administration will go to any length to enact his environmental agenda. His model of big government is spiraling out of control. Higher costs, more confusion and economic stagnation are all on the way unless the EPA is stopped. Our government is putting the squeeze on middle class Americans and small businesses, and the water rule needs to go. It’s time to close the flood gates on this administration.

Rep. Sam Graves is a Republican from Missouri and chairman of the House Small Business Committee.

Read the article online HERE.

 

Small Contractors Slam The SBA For Inactivity On Reform Implementation

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:00am

The Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, under the chairmanship of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), today held a hearing to examine the slow implementation of the numerous small business procurement reforms included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. The law was signed by the President on January 3, 2013, yet the regulatory promulgation process has not begun yet.
 
The reforms make various changes to procurement law that help small businesses compete for federal contracts, including making small business goals part of senior agency employee reviews and bonus discussions, preventing contracting fraud by penalizing companies that front for large businesses, and changing limitations on subcontracting to make it easier for small companies to team on larger contracts, just to name a few. Given that most procurement regulations affecting small businesses must undergo a two-step regulatory process by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Acquisition Council, these delays make it unlikely that the reforms will be fully implemented before the next President takes office in 2017.

"The slow implementation of these critical small business contracting reforms is extremely disappointing, not only to legislators but also to the small businesses that could benefit from better public policy,” Chairman Hanna said. “Taxpayers want the Administration to actually implement laws which will help grow the economy. Unfortunately, the delay we are witnessing is the real-world consequence of an overly bureaucratic federal government. The priorities of our federal agencies are misplaced and need to change so that the sound policies approved by Congress and signed into law become a reality for American small businesses desperate to grow and create jobs.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:
Charlotte Baker, President of Digital Hands in Tampa, FL said, “The delayed implementation of this “similarly situated entity” [Section 1651 of P.L. 112-239- subcontracting transparency] provision has negatively impacted the [women-owned small business] community. Digital Hands’ recent experience is a clear example of why this is so important.

“My recommendation is simple: urge the SBA to implement this provision as quickly as possible to bring these necessary changes that impact businesses who are the economic engine in the United States. Thanks to this Committee’s leadership, Congress passed the change; now, the SBA needs to implement it. The longer the delay, the more that all small businesses will continue to miss out on opportunities
.”

Larry Allen, President of Allen Federal Business Partners in McLean, VA said, “I am here today to discuss Sections 1681, 1682, and 1683 of the FY’13 NDAA. Collectively, these laws will limit the liability of companies receiving advice from federally-supported entities on government contracting matters, provide greater clarity about small business suspension and debarment procedures, and provide this body with additional reporting on that process to ensure the fair treatment of small business government contractors.

“Our firm recommends that Congress continue to provide oversight on the SBA’s lack of progress in implementing these three key elements of the 2013 NDAA and take steps to hold senior agency officials accountable for this inaction. Small firms are not getting the benefit of the protections originally envisioned. Businesses that are not truly small are still competing with legitimate businesses for small business work
.”

Angela Styles, Partner at Crowell & Moring, LLP. in Washington, DC, said, “SBA’s failure to act has created significant ambiguity for federal contractors—both small and large.  While this uncertainty keeps the lawyers busy, it costs government contractors—and ultimately results in higher prices for the federal government and taxpayers.”

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Chairmen Urge Labor Secretary Perez To Reverse Davis-Bacon Decision

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 12:00am

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today joined House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI) to urge Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to reverse the Department’s decision to unilaterally extend the Davis-Bacon Act requirements to survey technicians due to inadequate analysis and outreach to industry stakeholders.

Graves, Kline and Walberg wrote in a letter to Perez, “When the department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued AAM No. 212 along with a guidance letter on March 22, 2013, survey technicians were included under Davis-Bacon for the first time in the act’s history.   For over 50 years, both Republican and Democrat administrations have consistently excluded survey technicians from Davis-Bacon requirements. However, after receiving unsolicited input from the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the department proceeded to make this unprecedented policy change based solely on the information from the IUOE without consulting any other stakeholders.  To make matters worse, the department made this change through an agency memorandum, rather than the public rulemaking process.  The department’s action in this case has resulted in confusion as to what work is covered by the memorandum and when the change in policy officially began.”   

In 2013, Graves, Kline and Walberg wrote a letter requesting documents and communications concerning its decision to overturn decades of policy and apply Davis-Bacon wage requirements to survey technicians. The Department’s response was significantly delayed and failed to provide all the documents and communications that been requested. However, the documentation provided show that only the IUOE was consulted during the nearly two years the Department considered the change.

As Graves, Kline and Walberg continued in today’s letter, “Based on the most recent documents provided to the committee, it is clear the department worked exclusively with the IUOE to make this significant policy change.  The entire process appears to have started on May 4, 2011, when an assistant for William Waggoner, Business Manager, IUOE Local 12, contacted the department stating that Mr. Waggoner had discussed this issue with then-Secretary Solis at a luncheon and would like to meet in Washington, D.C. to discuss the matter.” 

To read the full letter, click HERE.

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Week Ahead for the Committee: July 14-18

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 12:00am

Committee to Hold Hearings on the Implementation of Contracting Reforms and Impact of Occupational Licensing on Entrepreneurship

The House Small Business Committee, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today announced the schedule for the week of July 14, 2014:
 
On Tuesday, July 15, at 1:00 p.m., the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, under the chairmanship of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), will hold a hearing titled, “Action Delayed, Small Business Opportunities Denied: Implementation of Contracting Reforms in the FY 2013 NDAA.” The purpose of this hearing will be to address the sluggish implementation of the numerous small business procurement reforms included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. Given that most procurement regulations affecting small businesses must undergo a two-step regulatory process; first being promulgated by the Small Business Administration (SBA), and then promulgated by the Federal Acquisition Council, these delays make it unlikely that the reforms will be fully implemented before the next President takes office in 2017.
 
"Over 18 months ago, the President signed into law small business contracting reform within the FY2013 NDAA, but little progress has been made on the implementation of these reforms,” Chairman Hanna said. “This is a classic example of a bloated bureaucratic federal government that is wasting taxpayer dollars and dragging its feet on the promulgation of important laws. Rather than creating new, untested entrepreneurial development programs, the SBA should focus on completing its core responsibilities efficiently.”
 
On Wednesday, July 16, at 1:00 p.m., the Committee will conduct a hearing titled "Barriers to Entrepreneurship: Examining the Anti-Trust Implications of Occupational Licensing." This hearing will examine whether economic opportunity is being denied by onerous state licensure requirements to engage in certain occupations. Specifically, this hearing will focus on the role that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plays in combating the rise in occupational licensure through the enforcement of federal anti-trust laws.
 
“While the intent of occupational licensing may be to provide benefits to the public, there also are potential costs associated with erecting broad regulatory barriers to pursuing work and realizing the American dream. These hurdles are disproportionately high for lower and middle class Americans,” said Chairman Graves. “This hearing will take a good look at whether the state licensing boards, which are typically made up of individuals already working in the profession, are creating broad requirements that unfairly restrict competition and examine the role the FTC plays in promoting competition and ensuring compliance with anti-trust laws.”

Watch the hearing live HERE.

Event Details:
Tuesday, July 15, 1:00 p.m. EDT
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce
Action Delayed, Small Business Opportunities Denied: Implementation of Contracting Reforms in the FY 2013 NDAA
 
Wednesday, July 16, 1:00 p.m. EDT
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Small Business Committee
Barriers to Entrepreneurship: Examining the Anti-Trust Implications of Occupational Licensing       

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Small Business Owners Encourage Congress To Expand Use of Cash Accounting

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am

The Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, under the chairmanship of Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), today conducted a hearing on the issue of cash accounting, how it affects small businesses, and whether policies should be changed to allow small firms more flexibility in using an accounting method that best suits their operations. Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Rice worked as a tax attorney.
 
According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, 41 percent of small businesses use cash accounting, making it the preferred method of accounting for small businesses. Nevertheless, the Internal Revenue Code (IRS) requires that many small businesses in the United States use the more complicated accrual method of accounting for tracking cash receipts and disbursements.

“Today’s witnesses overwhelmingly believe that Washington should expand the use of cash accounting because the majority of small businesses prefer it for their business operations,” said Chairman Rice. “The IRS prohibiting some small businesses from using cash accounting is a perfect example of a government barrier to private sector growth. As a tax attorney, I’ve dealt with small companies who spend too much time dealing with tax compliance requirements that are time-consuming and unnecessary. We should be doing everything possible to make it easier for small businesses to grow and create jobs. In addition, any tax reform proposal that Congress considers should protect and expand the use of cash accounting.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:
Sarah Windham, Senior Tax Manager of Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP in Charleston, SC said, “Since their income can fluctuate widely from year to year, accrual accounting, coupled with our progressive tax system, would likely cause farmers to pay more taxes over time than a company in a different industry with stable income over the same time period. Cash accounting allows them to accelerate expenses or defer income giving farms the option to even out their taxable income comparable with long‐term earnings of other industries.”
 
Terry Durkin, Owner of Durkin Associates in Burlington, MA said, “As Congress begins reforming the tax code, I urge you to keep in mind how essential cash basis accounting is to startup businesses, especially micro businesses. I believe Congress can do more to help them. Both Chairman Camp and former Senator Baucus’s proposals are good first steps, but I strongly recommend that Congress go even further.”

Donald Williamson, Executive Director of the Kogod Tax Center at American University in Washington, DC said, “My testimony will describe and highlight the burden placed upon small businesses when the Internal Revenue Code requires them to be on the accrual method of accounting. However, even where the law permits a small business to use the simpler cash method of accounting, the general requirement to maintain inventory records creates burdens that may only influence by only a few months the timing of a small business’s taxable income. Therefore, we urge Congress to not only expand the number of businesses eligible to use the case method of accounting but to also enact a “simplified” cash method of accounting for small business that would further reduce unnecessary record keeping and compliance burdens. We believe such simplification will neither adversely affect the accuracy of tax returns nor impact the ability of the IRS to collect tax.”

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Graves’ Concerns Regarding Obamacare Small Business Program Continue To Go Unanswered

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON, DC – House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) released the following statement after again hearing from the Obama Administration that no enrollment data or metrics exists for the health care law’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP):

“The mismanagement of the Small Business Health Options program is very frustrating,” said Graves. “The Administration isn’t able to answer even the most basic questions about the program’s enrollment or its progress. Going back to last year, the program’s delays and lack of choices have contributed to headache after headache for small businesses who are trying to follow all of the twists and turns of the program. It’s astonishing how little information has been disclosed about a law in which the taxpayers are investing billions. What is the Administration hiding?”

Earlier this month, Graves wrote to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to request information about the SHOP enrollment for the second time this year. The Administration responded this week with general information about the program, but shared no enrollment data or timetable.

In January, Graves requested enrollment numbers and related information from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The Administration responded in March, a month after the requested deadline, that the metrics were unavailable, but would be available at a later date.

This list of delays and mismanagement of SHOP:

• On April 1, 2013 the Obama Administration announced that the employer health insurance choice on the federal SHOP exchanges would be delayed until 2015, limiting employers to one single plan.
• In June, 2013 a GAO report requested by Chairman Graves confirmed the administration was ill-equipped for the implementation of the SHOPs, showing potential for “implementation challenges going forward.”
• On September 26, 2013 the Health and Human Services Department announced the SHOPs online enrollment would be postponed from October 1 until November, forcing small businesses to enroll using paper forms. That same day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified the enrollment would begin on November 1, 2013.
• During a Ways and Means Committee hearing on October 29, 2013, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said the SHOPs would be operating at the end of November.
• On November 22, the administration extended the Obamacare federal exchange signup deadline (for January 1 coverage) from December 15 to December 23.
• On November 27, 2013, the day before Thanksgiving, the Administration announced a fourth SHOP-related delay, postponing online enrollment for a full year.
• On June 10, 2014, CMS delayed the employee choice option until at least 2016, further limiting the breadth of choice.

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Tipton Subcommittee Examines Oil Production and Refining Solutions That Will Lower Energy Costs and Boost Energy Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:00am

The Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, under the chairmanship of Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), today conducted a hearing to examine the disparity between the growing rate of domestic crude oil production and a limited refining capacity, as well as how that mismatch impacts small energy businesses, energy costs, and the broader economy.

“In contrast to a decline in oil production on federal lands, oil production on private lands is growing rapidly. However, the U.S. is not able to enjoy the full economic benefits from this surge because our refining capacity can’t keep up due to bureaucratic barriers,” said Chairman Tipton. “To address our unstable energy and gas prices, we must unleash our abundant energy resources.”

“Today’s discussion on solutions to this emerging problem, whether its easing regulations on refiners or lifting the export ban on domestically produced crude oil, was substantive. The testimony also confirmed that Washington must remove expensive and time-consuming construction and operational permitting requirements and regulations so our energy industry can safely produce and refine oil in a cost-efficient manner, which will reduce foreign imports of crude oil, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and help drive down gas prices for overstretched consumers and small businesses.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Russell Smith, Senior Vice President of Quantum Energy in Williston, ND said, “If there is a bottom line message in my testimony today, it is that government regulations have a very real impact on our business and our business planning for the future. Perhaps most important is that uncertainty about overall federal policy toward crude oil refining and market availability has an indisputable impact on how all investors view business opportunities in this sector.”

Jared Blong, CEO/President of Octane Energy in Midland TX said, “While some may think that this [oil and natural production] growth can be attributed exclusively to the “majors” – that is, the larger, independent or integrated oil and gas companies -- let me suggest that the vast majority of the nearly 10 million Americans who work in the energy sector are small business entrepreneurs like me, dedicated to conservation, innovation, efficiency and stewardship -- and our contributions are and will continue to be, instrumental to America’s energy future.”

Kevin Book, Managing Director of ClearView Energy Partners, LLC in Washington, DC said, “My testimony today suggests that even as many Americans celebrate the renewed production of light, sweet crude oil, current production trends may be creating an unstable equilibrium. Domestic crude supply appears poised to outgrow its available outlets under current export policy, creating uncertainty for upstream and downstream investments. Producers may soon see deeper discounts relative to global prices, while refiners must consider whether to commit capital to new infrastructure predicated in large part on these feedstock discounts. In my view, moving as quickly as possible towards a clear and durable policy decision regarding crude oil exports appears to in the interest of all parties.”

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Graves Supports Lowering Gas Prices Bill to Benefit Small Firms

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:00am
House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today released the following statement in support of the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act (H.R. 4899):

“Rising gasoline prices harm small businesses and slow the economy. In fact, small businesses face a ratio of energy costs per sale that is 2.7 times what a large company pays. When costs go up, they have to cut jobs, raise prices or postpone major investments in equipment, and the economy suffers as a result. In contrast, developing America’s own energy resources creates good jobs, strengthens national security and boosts the economy. While much of America’s abundant oil and natural gas supply has remained off limits, the average price of a gallon of gas has roughly doubled under President Obama’s red tape policies. This legislation helps streamline the bureaucratic tangle to reduce the price at the pump and create jobs. Small businesses will benefit from a responsible ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that expands production from America’s vast onshore and offshore oil and natural gas sources.”

“Today’s hearing in the Small Business Committee examines the regulatory roadblocks and refining impediments that limit the benefits of domestic energy production and hold back the job-creating innovations that small energy businesses offer.”

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Graves Supports Energy Infrastructure Legislation for Small Business Growth

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 12:00am

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today released the following statement in support of the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301):

“Advances in technology and new market realities have greatly increased the energy production potential of the United States and its neighbors.  In fact, the energy production sector has been one of the few job-creating bright spots in an otherwise feeble economy.  However, the benefits of this energy bounty won’t be realized until government eliminates needless political meddling and bureaucratic inertia so that abundant North American energy can reach the market.  Building the infrastructure to support North American energy development will improve our nation’s energy security, and create tens of thousands of high paying energy, construction and manufacturing jobs while also promoting stable energy prices. 

 “This week’s hearing in the Small Business Committee also addresses some of the challenges for small energy companies, and the role they can play in a changing energy paradigm.”

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Congressman Sam Graves “Small Business Program Mismanagement Epitomizes Obamacare Incompetence”

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 12:00am

Congressman Sam Graves “Small Business Program Mismanagement Epitomizes Obamacare Incompetence”
​By Chairman Sam Graves

The Obama administration just can’t seem to deliver on its promises for Obamacare, and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) clearly illustrates this. This program was designed to simplify the process for small businesses to compare health plan costsand select an appropriate plan for their employees, and through competition, bring down costs.  In practice, it has done just the opposite because of a series of missed deadlines and delays. In fact, the program has now been delayed five times since April 2013.

During the Obamacare debate, many questioned the wisdom of granting the government more control over health care, but the botched rollout and implementation of the policy adds an additional concern that this law is leading to further confusion and uncertainty for small businesses.

In the turmoil of the administration’s rollout of Obamacare, the small business program repeatedly fell behind schedule. We first learned of the administration’s inability to deliver SHOPs as planned with their announcement on April 1, 2013, that the employer health insurance choice on the federal SHOP exchanges would be delayed until 2015,

limiting employers to one single plan. That delay was the first of many.

On June 19, 2013, a report I requested from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) confirmed the administration was ill-equipped to implement SHOP and that there could be “implementation challenges going forward.” The report proved to be accurate, because the incompetence continued like clockwork.

On September 26, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the federal SHOPs online enrollment would be postponed until November, 2013, forcing small businesses to enroll using paper forms. That same day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified the enrollment would begin on November 1, 2013. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner then further clarified in a congressional hearing on October 29, 2013, that the SHOPs would be operating at theend of November. Just when you thought they were done, another delay was announced on November 27, 2013 while most of the country wasn’t paying attention, the day before Thanksgiving.

The pattern of stops and stutters has continued with the latest delay coming last week!

These delays and lack of choices are contributing to increased premium costs for businesses, which is exactly what Nancy Pelosi and President Obama said wouldn’t happen. To be exact, costs are increasing for nearly two-thirds of small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees, according to a CMS report released in February. Small businesses do not expand and hire when facing increasing costs and confusion, and the administration’s disarray in managing this program is just one more element of uncertainty for small firms in a weak economy.

Topping off the administration’s ongoing and obvious dysfunction is its unwillingness to release basic data about participation in the program. Back in January, I requested enrollment numbers and related information from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius but received no data. I asked again this month, with no luck. For a President that ran on more government accountability, it’s astonishing how little information is disclosed about a program in which the taxpayers are investing billions.

As a Missouri Representative and Chairman of the Small Business Committee, I will continue to work for transparency from these federal agencies on behalf of small businesses and families. This mismanagement and inadequacy is causing the American people and small business owners to lose trust in their government’s ability to do just about anything. We deserve better.

Read the article online HERE.

Expanded Clean Water Act Rules Hurt Small Business

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:00am

Expanded Clean Water Act Rules Hurt Small Business
​By Chairman Sam Graves

Congress passed the Clean Water Act more than four decades ago to safeguard our nation’s major waterways. These rivers and other bodies of water are sources for drinking water and transportation, known as “navigable waters.” In my northern Missouri district, situated between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, healthy rivers are absolutely essential to the local economy and farm communities.

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seem to be losing sight of their fundamental mission and instead are more concerned with expanding their own regulatory footprint. Under a newly proposed “Waters of the United States” rule, thousands of small streams, ditches, ponds and other isolated bodies of water, and lands near them, will be subject to federal jurisdiction and all the regulation, permitting and mitigation that entails. The consequences for millions of small businesses, farmers and local governments could be dire.

Over the years, the agencies’ regulatory interpretation of CWA jurisdiction has been stretched further and further to include bodies of water that have little or no connection to waters that are used for traditional commerce. This proposed rule was touted as necessary to provide more clarity, but is doing the exact opposite by using vaguely defined terms that may be read to include small ponds, ditches or small streams that run only when there is heavy rain. And this extraordinary regulatory intrusion into the lives of many farmers, ranchers and small-business owners has the likely potential to be economically devastating.

Recently, the Small Business Committee, which I chair, held a hearing and heard from small businesses that will be affected by the proposed rule. Alan Parks, an executive with a Memphis, Tenn., stone and gravel company explained the proposed rule’s problems and consequences for small businesses, stating, “The proposed rule has no clear line on what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out,’ making it very difficult for our industry and other businesses to plan new projects and make hiring decisions. If it is determined development of a site will take too long or cost too much in permitting or mitigation, we won’t move forward. That means a whole host of economic activity in a community will not occur — all of this in the name of protecting a ditch or farm pond.”

While the proposed rule clearly has significant consequences for small businesses, the agencies failed to assess those impacts. Had the agencies conducted outreach to and solicited input from small businesses, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, they may have identified and fixed some of the problems with the rule before it was proposed. My colleagues and I on the Small Business Committee have called on EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed rule and examine the real-world consequences of their rule on small businesses before they move forward. Although I appreciate the EPA’s recent decision to extend the comment period, it would be wiser still to withdraw the rule altogether, step back and thoroughly weigh the costs and economic consequences for small businesses.

While all Americans want clean water, they don’t want the federal government to regulate every drop of it. A heavy spring rain shouldn’t result in a bureaucratic bonanza of permits and delays for routine projects and basic activities like cleaning debris and vegetation from a ditch or building a fence near a small stream that merely runs intermittently. Under this proposed rule, however, that will be the result.

Much is at stake. This rule should be halted and subjected to rigorous analysis to ascertain the true benefit, and at what cost to small businesses and landowners. It’s time for the Obama administration to ditch this rule that threatens to drown small businesses in unnecessary regulatory requirements.

Read the article online HERE.

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