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Chabot Urges SBA to Join the Effort to Reach Trade Agreements

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

Chabot Urges SBA to Join the Effort to Reach Trade Agreements

WASHINGTON – In today’s hearing on the Small Business Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2016, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) urged Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet to make international trade a priority for the SBA as Congress pursues trade agreements this year.

Chairman Chabot said, “I met with a number of small businesses from around the country this morning. We talked about the importance of trade. As you know, trade is critical to our economy. Ninety-six percent of consumers are located outside the boundaries of the United States. Unfortunately, only 1 to 2 percent of small businesses are engaged in international trade.”

Chairman Chabot and Administrator Contreras–Sweet agreed that crucial opportunities for trade and small business lie with Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the TPP and TTIP agreements that can then follow.

Chabot concluded with this request to Administrator Contreras-Sweet: “Please let me urge you to do everything in your power to emphasize to the Administration the importance of passing these trade pieces of legislation to small businesses across the country. You and I, in our different capacities, should do everything we can to do that.

Chairman Chabot’s comments came after he had expressed some concern over the SBA’s budget priorities. “Ultimately, budgeting is about the bottom line for small businesses,” Chabot said in his opening statement.  “For the SBA, the budget is about accountability. The budget request is the Agency’s defense of its priorities to taxpayers, current small business owners, entrepreneurs, and Congress.  If this is the Agency’s defense, then it is has not gotten that accountability right.” Full hearing documents can be viewed here.   

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VIDEO RELEASE: Kline Urges Support for the Student Success Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am
The House of Representatives is currently debating the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), legislation to reduce the federal footprint in education, restore local control, and empower parents and local schools. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) highlighted the challenges facing schools under burdensome federal policies and he urged his colleagues to place less faith in the Secretary of Education and more faith in parents, teachers, and education leaders by supporting the Student Success Act.
 

The Student Success Act provides states and school districts more flexibility to fund local priorities, not Washington’s priorities. The legislation eliminates dozens of ineffective or duplicative programs so that each dollar makes a direct, meaningful, and lasting impact in classrooms.
 
The bill strengthens accountability by replacing the current national scheme with state-led accountability systems, returning to states the responsibility to measure student performance and improve struggling schools.

The Student Success Act also ensures parents have the information they need to hold their schools accountable. It’s their tax money, but more importantly, it is their children and they deserve to know how their schools are performing.
 
The bill reaffirms that choice is a powerful lifeline for families with children in failing schools by extending the magnet school program, expanding access to high-quality charter schools, and allowing federal funds to follow low-income students to the traditional public or charter school of the parent’s choice.

To read Chairman Kline's full remarks, click here.                                                                                

To watch a video of his remarks, click here

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** TOMORROW: Joint Hearing on President’s Blacklisting Executive Order

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

On Thursday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), will hold a joint subcommittee hearing entitled, “The Blacklisting Executive Order: Rewriting Federal Labor Policies Through Executive Fiat.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
   
In July 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13673, which may deny employers federal contracts if they or their subcontractors violated or allegedly violated various federal labor laws. Based on information disclosed by the employer covering a three year period, each agency’s contracting officer and a newly created Labor Compliance Advisor will review an employer’s compliance history and decide whether the employer’s actions demonstrate a “lack of integrity of business ethics.” Employers have expressed concerns the executive order demands an unreasonable scope of reporting requirements, undermines their due process protections, disregards existing remedies to address labor law violations, and relies on a highly subjective review process.
        
Thursday’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to examine the effect of the president’s executive order on the federal procurement system, as well as concerns raised by employers and stakeholders.
                
To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
           

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Kline Statement: H.R. 5, the Student Success Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

This week, we have an opportunity to advance bold reforms that will strengthen K-12 education for children across America.
 
A great education can be the great equalizer, it can open doors to unlimited possibilities and provide students the tools they need to succeed in life. Every child in every school deserves an excellent education, yet we are failing to provide every child that opportunity.
 
Today, approximately one out of five students drop out of high school, and many who do graduate are going to college or entering the workforce with a subpar education. The number of students proficient in reading and math is abysmal. The achievement gap separating minority students from their peers is appalling. Parents have little to no options to rescue their children from failing schools.
 
A broken education system has plagued families for decades. Year after year, policymakers lament the problems and talk about solutions, and once in a while a law is enacted that promises to improve our education system. Unfortunately, past efforts have largely failed because they are based on the idea that Washington knows what’s best for children. We’ve doubled down on this flawed approach repeatedly and it isn’t working.
 
Federal mandates dictate how to gauge student achievement, how to define qualified teachers, how to spend money at the state and local levels, and how to improve underperforming schools. And now, thanks to the unprecedented overreach of the current administration, the Department of Education is dictating policies concerning teacher evaluations, academic standards, and more.

No one questions whether parents, teachers, and local education leaders are committed to their students, yet there are some who question whether they are capable of making the best decisions for their students.
 
Success in school should be determined by those who teach inside our classrooms; by administrators who understand the challenges facing their communities; by parents who know better than anyone the needs of their children.
 
If every child is going to receive a quality education, then we need to place less faith in the Secretary of Education and more faith in parents, teachers, and state and local leaders.
 
That is why I am proud to sponsor the Student Success Act. By reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders, this commonsense bill will move our country in a better direction.
 
The Student Success Act provides states and school districts more flexibility to fund local priorities, not Washington’s priorities. The legislation eliminates dozens of ineffective or duplicative programs so that each dollar makes a direct, meaningful, and lasting impact in classrooms.
 
The bill strengthens accountability by replacing the current national scheme with state-led accountability systems, returning to states the responsibility to measure student performance and improve struggling schools.

The Student Success Act also ensures parents have the information they need to hold their schools accountable. It’s their tax money, but more importantly, it is their children and they deserve to know how their schools are performing.
 
The bill reaffirms that choice is a powerful lifeline for families with children in failing schools by extending the magnet school program, expanding access to high-quality charter schools, and allowing federal funds to follow low-income students to the traditional public or charter school of the parent’s choice.
 
Finally, the Student Success Act reins in the authority of the Secretary of Education. We must stop the Secretary from unilaterally imposing his will on schools and this bill will do just that. 
 
Perhaps that is why the White House and powerful special interests are teaming up to defeat this legislation. They fear the bill will lead to less control in Washington and more control in states and school districts. Let me assure the American people: that is precisely what this bill will do.
 
I urge my colleagues to help all children, regardless of background, income, or zip code, receive an excellent education by supporting the Student Success Act.

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Nelson questions FCC about use of surveillance technology

WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. Bill Nelson has asked federal authorities to review the use of cell phone monitoring devices that are now in the hands of numerous local law enforcement agencies.  He did so in a letter today to the Federal Communications Commission.  The use of the so-called StingRay device is gaining increased scrutiny not only in the media, but in Congress as well.

Following is Nelson’s letter to the FCC and a recent Washington Post article.

 

 

Feb. 24, 2015

 

The Honorable Tom Wheeler

...

Sen. Cruz Calls Subcommittee Hearing on Space Exploration

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. entitled “U.S. Human Exploration Goals and Commercial Space Competitiveness.” Former NASA astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon and the pilot of Apollo 11, and leaders in the commercial space industry will provide their testimony.

“I look forward to Tuesday's hearing, which will provide both the Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee and the American...

Chabot on Keystone Veto and Cincinnati Jobs

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:00am

Chabot on Keystone Veto; Cincinnati Jobs

WASHINGTON - Following President Obama’s veto of bipartisan legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“When we talk about the jobs Keystone would support, we’re not just talking about numbers. We’re talking about real people, like those I’ve met at the Siemens factory in Cincinnati who stand ready to manufacture the electric motors for the pipeline. We’re talking about more than 42,000 hardworking Americans in cities and towns all over the country who are paying the price for President Obama’s political temper tantrum.

Republicans, Democrats, and the people who sent us here want the Keystone Pipeline. We’ll continue to fight for what is right, even if President Obama made it clear today that he will not.”

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Chabot Leads Bipartisan Effort to Expand Small Business Access to Capital

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:00am
 

Chabot Leads Bipartisan Effort to Expand Small Business Access to Capital

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group led by Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) today introduced legislation to invigorate the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program, allowing promising small businesses greater access to capital to grow their businesses and create jobs.

“We have to build an opportunity economy that allows all Americans to get ahead,” said Chairman Chabot. “In my home state of Ohio, more than 2,000 people have jobs today because the SBIC helped small businesses there access the resources they needed to grow. The program is an efficient, smart, and successful way of making capital available to small businesses poised for growth. Strengthening the SBIC will go a long way towards creating more good-paying jobs across the country—all at no cost to taxpayers.”

Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), the bill’s lead Democratic co-sponsor, said, “I am proud to work with Chairman Chabot to support SBICs, and am happy to reintroduce this common sense proposal that would help increase the amount of capital available to small businesses and help get hardworking families in Rhode Island and across the country back to work. I look forward to working across the aisle to help pass this legislation and ensure that small businesses around the country have the resources and support they need to grow and expand.”

The SBIC Program is a public-private partnership that provides small businesses access to equity and debt financing. The program has provided billions in private capital to startups and small businesses, some of which have become household names such as Pandora, Whole Foods, Apple, and Nike.

H.R. 1023 would allow experienced managers of multiple SBIC funds to increase their leverage from $225 million to $350 million, helping these entities provide additional capital to small businesses.

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Why Americans need a new education law

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:00am

Our country faces tough challenges: a slow economy, stagnant wages, and a weak job market. With the right set of bold reforms, our nation can once again be a land of opportunity and prosperity for every American who seeks it.

Toward that end, this week the House of Representatives will consider the Student Success Act, a commonsense proposal to fix a broken K-12 education system and help all children, regardless of background or zip code, receive an excellent education.

The fact of the matter is, the law governing our current K-12 education system, No Child Left Behind, is failing. It’s based on the false premise that Washington knows what’s best for schools, rather than parents, teachers, and administrators.

The evidence is there in the numbers. Though the federal government has more control over classrooms than ever before, just 38 percent of high school seniors are reading at grade level, and only 26 percent are proficient in math.
 
These poor results make it harder for young men and women to compete on the global stage. Out of 34 countries that participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranks 20th and 27th in science and math, respectively.

The American people should not have to settle for this status quo.

After years of an outsized — and unsuccessful — federal role in education, the Student Success Act gets Washington out of the business of running schools and restores responsibility for providing an effective education to states and school districts.

The legislation will end the era of one-size-fits-all prescriptions by repealing ineffective federal requirements governing accountability, teacher quality, and local spending that have proven to hamstring the ability of states and school districts to improve student learning.

The Student Success Act will downsize the bureaucracy at the U.S. Department of Education by eliminating nearly 70 ineffective, duplicative, and unnecessary federal programs, reduce the department’s staff accordingly, and replace this confusing maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant, providing states and school districts the flexibility they need to promote innovative reforms tailored to their unique student populations.

The legislation also reins in the Secretary’s authority, to ensure neither he nor his successors interfere or coerce states into adopting a specific set of standards or assessments, including Common Core.

In addition to reducing the federal footprint and restoring local control, the bill will expand parental choice to help more children escape underperforming schools, which is critical to charting a better path for students.

In my home state of Indiana, the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School’s rigorous curriculum and laser-focus on preparing students for higher education has helped more than 80 percent of its alumni earn a bachelor’s degree.

The Student Success Act will support the replication of successful charter schools like Tindley, giving more students an opportunity to complete a college education and compete in the workforce.

It is no surprise the White House and powerful special interests are teaming up to derail this important effort. They continue to use scare tactics and budget gimmicks to mislead the American people, because they are worried a new law will lead to less control in Washington and more control in the hands of parents and local education leaders. Frankly, it will — and it's about time.

Opponents of reform would rather pile more mandates, bureaucracy, and taxpayer money onto a broken system. If we adopted their approach, then the federal footprint in classrooms would continue to grow and student achievement would remain stagnant.

The Student Success Act offers a responsible alternative — one that gives power back to the moms, dads, teachers, administrators, and state officials who can make the most direct, lasting impact in a child’s life.
    

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Ohio Supreme Court Holds Municipal “Fracking” Regulations Cannot Conflict with State Rules

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 10:58am
Featured Expert Column – Environmental Law and Policy by Samuel B. Boxerman, Sidley Austin LLP, with Katharine Newman, Sidley Austin LLP Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court weighed in on the battle being waged between state and local governments over oil and gas development, ruling that Ohio cities and municipalities may not use home rule […]
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