Small Business Subcommittee Examines SBA Capital Access Programs
WASHINGTON – Today, the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access held a hearing to examine one of the greatest impediments to growth for any small business: access to capital.
The hearing included industry witnesses from several Small Business Administration programs, who each shared their thoughts on how they can improve their respective programs. After the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Tom Rice (R-SC) said:
“We cannot have a strong country without a strong economy, and for small businesses, access to capital is often the deciding factor if it will expand or close its doors. We must make sure the entrepreneurs and small businesses that employ half of America’s workforce have access to the capital they need to operate their business.”
Full Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) issued the following statement:
“The programs Chairman Rice and the subcommittee examined this morning play an important role in our economy, bridging the capital gap for many small businesses every day. We must continue to make sure these programs are efficient and effective so that they are able to help small businesses do what they do best: create jobs.”
Brett Palmer, a witness testifying on behalf of the Small Business Investors Alliance, applauded Members of the Committee for introducing H.R. 1023, legislation to strengthen the Small Business Investment Company Program. He then called on Congress to move this bipartisan bill forward, emphasizing that doing so would increase the amount of private funds available to small firms by roughly $750 million.
Rick Bradshaw, another witness testifying on behalf of the National Association of Government Guaranteed lenders (NAGGL), encouraged the Committee to work on solutions that could help SBA loan programs become more accessible to veterans and other underserved markets.
Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) was Barbara Vohryzek, who agreed with the Small Business Committee’s goal to ensure “American small businesses have the access to capital necessary to grow, and in doing so, help their local communities flourish.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) today filed legislation aimed at helping victims of last week's deadly Amtrak derailment.
Nelson's bill would replace an outdated cap on damages for passenger rail liability following such an accident – a cap set almost two decades ago in federal law at $200 million.
Enacted in 1916, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) provides workers’ compensation benefits to federal employees who become injured or ill through work-related activity. The program covers approximately three million civilian federal workers and paid out nearly $3 billion in benefits in 2014. The law has not been meaningfully updated since 1974, and there are concerns that current, outdated benefit policies may be too generous and discourage employees’ return to work. The Department of Labor, in its Fiscal Year 2016 budget request, has proposed a series of reforms intended to improve the program.
Wednesday’s hearing will provide committee members with an opportunity to further evaluate the administration’s proposed reforms, as well as other possible legislative changes to reform the law. To learn more about the hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
Mr. Leonard Howie
Director of Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
Department of Labor
Mr. Ron Watson
Director of Retired Members
National Association of Letter Carriers
Dr. Andrew Sherrill
Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security
Government Accountability Office
The Honorable Scott Dahl
Department of Labor
On Tuesday, May 19 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), will hold a hearing entitled, “Addressing Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Federal Child Nutrition Programs.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
In Fiscal Years 2015, it is estimated the federal government will invest approximately $21 billion in child nutrition programs that are intended to provide low-income students and families access to healthy meals. Recent reports from the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Agriculture and the Government Accountability Office examined waste, fraud, and abuse in the administration of these programs, raising concerns about whether the programs are effectively serving those most in need.
As Congress works to strengthen these programs, Tuesday’s hearing will give members an opportunity to examine possible solutions for preventing waste, fraud, and abuse in federal child nutrition programs. To learn more about this hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings
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Mr. Gil H. Harden
Assistant Inspector General for Audit
Office of Inspector General
Department of Agriculture
Ms. Zoë Neuberger
Senior Policy Analyst
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Ms. Kay Brown
Education, Workforce, and Income Security
Government Accountability Office
Ms. Jessica Lucas-Judy
Forensic Audits and Investigative Service
Government Accountability Office
Chabot Praises Passage of NDAA and Small Business Contracting Reforms
WASHINGTON - House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) today applauded the passage of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (NDAA), which included a number of Small Business Committee legislative proposals to improve the federal contracting process.
Many of these provisions were successfully marked up by the Committee on Small Business on March 25, 2015. In April, Chairman Chabot, along with several other Small Business Committee Members including Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV), testified before the Armed Services Committee in support of these contracting reforms aimed at increasing small business participation rates. A large portion of those proposals were included in the Committee’s legislation. Chairman Chabot then testified before the Committee on Rules in favor of including the remaining provisions, which he and Rep. Bost spoke in favor of during floor consideration of the bill. All of the provisions were ultimately adopted.
“Small businesses are vital to our industrial base and this bill makes sure they have the opportunity to meet our national security needs,” said Chabot. “I want to thank Chairman Thornberry for his tireless effort in assembling this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, and for including these common sense contracting reforms. I look forward to working with him and our Senate counterparts to ensure America’s small businesses have greater opportunity to compete for federal contracts, because when they do, it improves quality, reduces costs, and ensures we have a robust industrial base supporting our military.”
Versions of the following bills were included in the NDAA:
As passed by the House, the NDAA increases opportunities for small businesses in numerous ways in order to increase competition, innovation and job creation. Highlights include:
- Increasing transparency into the health of the small business technological and industrial base;
- Holding agencies accountable for subcontracting opportunities;
- Relieving regulatory burdens on service contractors;
- Making it easier for small businesses to team and joint venture for large contracts;
- Cracking down on contract bundling and consolidation;
- Ensuring that size standards are properly created and implemented;
- Providing small business advocates with necessary training;
- Restricting the misuse of reverse auctions; and
- Adding a small business representative to the Federal Acquisition Council.
Further details on the NDAA can be found here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Commerce Committee member Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) today announced the introduction of S. 1331, the Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act. The legislative proposal directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve seasonal forecasts – defined in the bill as periods over two weeks but less than two years.
“Meaningful strides in longer-term forecasting appear within reach, but it will require a con...
Kline Statment: Hearing on "Examining the Federal Government's Mismanagement of Native American Schools"
I’d like to begin by thanking Dr. Roessel and Mr. Mendoza for participating in this hearing. We are disappointed that Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, declined an invitation to join us this morning. Mr. Washburn would bring an important perspective to this discussion, and it is unfortunate the public and members of the committee will not hear from him today. However, we are pleased to have a distinguished panel of witnesses and look forward to your testimonies.
Today’s hearing is part of an effort to begin addressing the challenges facing Native American schools. In recent months, the nation has learned a great deal about the deplorable conditions affecting Native American schools. A crisis has been festering for decades, and thanks in large part to the investigative work of the Minnesota Star Tribune and others, it is finally receiving the national attention it deserves.
The details we have learned are shocking: falling ceilings; broken water heaters; electrical hazards; rotten floors; and rodent-infested classrooms. At a school I visited earlier this year, blankets hang over the doors in a desperate attempt to keep out the cold air. In fact, thin metal walls are all that separate students from harsh winters in states like Minnesota and South Dakota. Meanwhile, classrooms lack the most basic school supplies, such as desks, chairs, and textbooks.
At a recent oversight hearing, we also learned that a bungling bureaucracy is undermining the health and safety of these Native American students, as well as their education. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office notes that a disorganized bureaucracy and poor communication make it difficult – if not impossible – for schools to receive the services and support they need, and GAO warns that if these issues are not addressed, “it will be difficult for Indian Affairs to ensure the long-term success of a generation of students.”
More than a century ago, the federal government promised to provide Native American students a quality education in a manner that preserves their heritage, and we are failing to keep that promise. If these were our loved ones going to these schools, there is little doubt we would march down Pennsylvania Avenue to demand real change.
Jill Burcum, an editorial writer for the Star Tribune, said this at last month’s hearing: “As a mom, I thought many times that I would not be comfortable sending my children to school in these buildings … unfortunately, mothers of BIE students don’t have a choice, which is why action is required.”
The purpose of today’s hearing is not to assign blame. There is plenty of blame to go around. Instead, the purpose of this hearing is to understand the root causes of these persistent challenges and to demand better results. That is why we are pleased to have representatives from the Departments of Interior and Education. We are especially pleased to hear from you, Dr. Roessel, since you and your staff are on the front lines.
We understand the department plans to implement a number of internal changes intended to fix the system. We welcome that effort and are interested to learn more about it. Questions have been raised about whether this effort will address the fundamental problems facing the system or simply rearrange the chairs at the department. Questions have also been raised about whether this reorganization is taking place in a timely manner or being delayed by the same bureaucratic wrangling that has plagued these schools for decades.
The administration has a responsibility to answer these and other important questions, and to assure this committee, Congress, and the country that we are finally moving in a new direction. These vulnerable children and their families deserve no less.
In closing, I would note that there are tough challenges facing Native American students outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior, challenges that demand our attention as well. That is one reason why the Student Success Act provides greater flexibility to all public schools, so they can more effectively serve their unique student populations, including Native American students. Policies in place today assume every school faces the same set of challenges, but we know that’s not the case, and the Student Success Act would ensure federal policies reflect that reality.
Replacing No Child Left Behind continues to be a top priority and one that I am hopeful we will finish before the end of the year. However, the challenges facing these particular Native American students have been neglected for far too long and by members on both sides of the aisle. I encourage my colleagues to avoid political distractions that would merely shift the focus away from these unique, vulnerable children – they have waited long enough for the federal government to live up to its promises.
Every child in every school should receive an excellent education. That is the goal we are all working toward, and today’s hearing is an important part of that effort. With that, I will now recognize Ranking Member Scott for his opening remarks.
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The purpose of the hearing is to examine the rise of peer-to-peer lending platforms that seek to satisfy that seek the demand for debt capital that is currently not being met by banks and other conventional lenders.
Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Witnesses and Testimony:
Chabot Urges Administration to Return Waters of the United States Rule to EPA and the Corps
Small Business Committee Reminds OMB of Impact on Small Businesses; Regulatory Compliance Requirements
WASHINGTON--Today, Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) sent a letter urging the Office of Management and Budget to return the rule defining the “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers for reconsideration.
In his letter, Chabot pointed out that the final rule, which gives the government regulatory authority over bodies of water as small as streams and puddles on private property, had been submitted “after taking a mere five months to review over one million public comments, many describing the concerns of small business, which were submitted to the agencies on the proposed rule.”
Chabot continued, “While the agencies have stated that changes were made to the draft final rule in response to concerns raised during the comment period, the definition and the process by which it was developed are so flawed that the defects cannot be cured without reissuing a new proposed rule after fully complying with the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).”
The letter can be viewed in its entirety here.
The Small Business Committee has previously examined the negative impact that this rule would have on small businesses. An initial letter to the EPA Administrator outlined the Committee’s findings and urged withdrawal of the rule last year, and in May of 2014, the Committee held a hearing with small businesses to highlight these concerns. In July, the Committee hosted the EPA Deputy Administrator for another hearing on the matter, and in November, the Committee filed formal comments on the proposed rule, to again voice the concerns of America’s small business community.
The letter was sent after the House passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act on Tuesday evening. H.R. 1732 is a legislative solution to the rule that has already been met with the threat of a presidential veto.
Bridging the Small Business Capital Gap: Peer-to-Peer Lending
WASHINGTON -- During today’s House Small Business Committee hearing, “Bridging the Small Business Capital Gap: Peer-to-Peer Lending” led by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), members heard from peer-to-peer lending experts whose testimonies shed light on emerging lending techniques that could expand small business’ access to capital.
“While access to capital has always been a concern for small firms, as we all know, the Great Recession and recent reforms to our financial markets have made access to capital even more difficult,” said Chabot. “However, recently there has also been an influx of alternative lending options to assist small businesses in getting the financing they so desperately need.”
Zachary Green, CEO and Founder of MN8 Foxfire based in Cincinnati, Ohio, testified before the Committee about his success with peer-to-peer lending, which helped him grow and save his company specializing in firefighting and safety technology. “Almost every entrepreneur I know has the same recurring nightmare: running out of money,” Green said. “In under 36 hours, Foxfire received the money we needed. This is the perfect example of how the free market can act faster than larger, traditional institutions and keep the American Dream alive.”
Also testifying today was Sam Hodges, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Funding Circle USA, who emphasized the need for more affordable long-term financing solutions. “Short durations and very high effective rates drive many small businesses that use such credit products into downward cycles of re-borrowing in which they take out more and more debt to roll over their repayment obligations,” Hodges said.
The Committee also heard from Rajkamal Iyer, an Associate Professor of Finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, who has conducted studies on peer-to-peer lending trends. “One of the big problems of credit markets in general is screening for the underlying creditworthiness of borrowers,” Iyer said. “The interest rate set by [non-expert individual] lenders predicts default 45 percent more accurately than the borrower’s credit score.”
Chairman Chabot recognized the need to continue examining capital alternatives to traditional loans that are better suited for small businesses.
For full witness testimonies and footage of today’s hearing, click here.
When you see the words “women” and “international” in the same sentence, so many things come to mind: Women business owners thinking bigger about the potential of scaling their businesses by expanding in overseas markets. Women in developing nations struggling to gain basic rights women in the U.S. have enjoyed for decades, including the right to start and run your own business and access to the education and capital that make it all possible.
At NAWBO, many of our women entrepreneurs have taken their businesses global in recent years or are now thinking about it. That’s why we have always had an international breakout session track at our Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO—this year, September 28-29 in San Antonio, Texas—and we make it a priority to provide valuable resources and education to our members who are interested in international business throughout the year. Additionally, through our new MentorCloud online mentoring platform that we are preparing to roll out this year, global-minded women in business will be able to seamlessly connect for valuable support and advice.
At the same time, we remain committed to positively impacting entrepreneurial women the world over. That’s been increasingly evident through our growing number of partnerships with organizations that are focused on identifying and supporting women in developing nations. In this issue of NAWBO ONE, I hope you’ll take the time to read our Member Spotlight on longtime NAWBO member and leader Terry Neese, who, after successfully running her own staffing agency for 31 years, founded the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women whose PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program empowers and mentors women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. Now in its ninth year, the program has graduated more than 500 women who have created more than 12,000 jobs for their communities and countries.
In this issue, we also feature a Q&A with a leader from Opportunity International. This new NAWBO partner is helping women entrepreneurs around the world to break the cycle of poverty and thrive. Opportunity International is accomplishing this by providing loans, savings programs, insurance, business training and other financial services to empower community entrepreneurs to launch and expand businesses that break the cycle of poverty, transform their lives and strengthen their families and communities. Be sure to read how NAWBO members can get involved to make a difference.
In the Unites States, there are currently 9.1 million women business owners, making us the fastest growing segment in today’s economy. However, in many other countries around the world, women remain an untapped economic resource. According to the International Labor Organization, there are 812 million women living in developing countries with the potential to contribute more fully to their economies.
This month, I encourage you to consider what international opportunities exist for your business as well as what you can do to help other women around the world who share your entrepreneurial passion and spirit.
—Darla Beggs, NAWBO National Chair