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Graves Supports Extension Of Business-Friendly Tax Provisions

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:00am

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) issued the following statement in support of the Tax Increase Prevention Act (HR 5771):
 
“High taxes and a complex tax code have a devastating effect on small businesses,” said Chairman Graves. “I support extending these business-friendly tax provisions that will help our economy improve. The research credit, bonus depreciation, property expensing, small business stock exclusion, and reduction in S-corporation recognition period for built-in gain are worthy extensions that will help small businesses grow and create jobs.

“The SBA reports that the average tax compliance cost per employee for small businesses is almost three times the per employee cost for the average large firm, and small businesses spend more than 5.5 billion hours fulfilling their income tax obligations. The power of our entrepreneurial private sector won’t be unleashed until we provide tax relief for our small business community.”

Beneficial tax extenders for small businesses in the Tax Increase Prevention Act include:
    • Section 111. Extension of research credit
    • Section 122. Extension of 15-year cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant buildings and improvements, and qualified retail improvements
    • Section 125. Extension of bonus depreciation
    • Section 127. Extension of increased expensing limitations and treatment of certain real property as section 179 property
    • Section 136. Extension of temporary exclusion of 100 percent of gain on certain small business stock
    • Section 138. Extension of reduction in S-corporation recognition period for built-in gains tax

The Committee has made small business tax issues a high priority during the past two Congresses. In April, Graves held a hearing on the challenges small businesses face with complying with the tax code. A National Small Business Association (NSBA) tax survey was released in conjunction with the hearing, showing that a majority of small businesses spend 40 hours preparing to file their taxes, while 40 percent spend a costly two full workweeks on the process. In April of 2013, the Committee held a hearing with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp supporting tax reform.

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Committee Small Business Contracting Reform Included In Final NDAA

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:00am
House Small Business Committee-sponsored contracting reform legislation has been included in the bicameral National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA) agreement that will soon be voted on in the House. 

During the 112th Congress and early in the 113th Congress, the Committee has been successful in including small business legislation that it marked up in the final NDAAs that were signed into law. Given that about 70 percent of government contracts are awarded by the Department of Defense, the Armed Services Committee and Small Business Committee have worked together to include reforms into the NDAA.

“I’m pleased that we were able to again include many of our small business contracting reforms in this year’s NDAA,” said Chairman Graves. “The included legislation will help small businesses have a better chance at competing in the procurement marketplace. Our reforms from the last several years have contributed to the federal government finally reaching the 23 percent small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years. The reforms in this NDAA will help this accomplishment become a regular occurrence.”

“Many of our federal government procurement bidding processes are unnecessarily complex and complicated, especially for small businesses,” said Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce Chairman Richard Hanna (R-NY). “These reforms are a positive step toward giving small contractors the ability to more fairly compete for business. I am particularly pleased that we are making progress in reforming reverse auctions which actually hurt taxpayers and small contractors in industries like construction and design.”

Committee-sponsored legislation included in this year’s NDAA:

  • Design-Build Bidding Reform (Section 814) – Simplifies the multistep process of competing for design-build contracts with the Department of Defense. Originated as the Design Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013, sponsored by Graves.

  • Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Reform (Section 821) – At the request of Graves, the NDAA included provisions to increase transparency and accountability in the Test Program for Negotiation of Comprehensive Small Business Subcontracting Plans.

  • Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability (Section 822) – Brings more transparency to data reported on bundled and consolidated contracts. Originated as the Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act of 2013, sponsored by Graves, and passed by the Committee. 

  • Export Assistance for Small Businesses (Section 823) – At the request of Committee members, the NDAA included provisions intended to help small businesses comply with complicated import and export requirements with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and Export Administration Regulations.

  • Reverse Auctions Reform (Section 824) – Within the Department of Defense, this provision limits the use of reverse auctions by banning the use of single-round reverse auctions, single-bid reverse auctions absent price protections, third-party reverse auctions that include inherently governmental functions or private past performance evaluations, and reverse auctions for design-build work.  Given that 95 percent of reverse auctions are for contracts of less than $150,000, improper use of this tool has been harming small businesses, limiting competition, and delivering contracts that fail to save the taxpayers money. Originated as the Commonsense Construction Contracting Act of 2013, sponsored by Hanna, and passed by the Committee.

  • Women-Owned Small Businesses (Section 825) – Permits sole-source contracts for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically-Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) if there is only one WOSB or EDWOSB who can perform the work and the value of the contract is below $ 4 million, or $6.5 million for manufacturing. This provides WOSBs and EDWOSBs with the same sole-source authority currently available to HUBZone and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses firms.  Originated as the Women's Procurement Program Equalization Act of 2013, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), and passed by the Committee. 

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Rockefeller: Professional Sports Leagues Must Do More to Address Domestic Violence

Sports have always played a significant cultural role in the United States.  Just last week on Thanksgiving, millions of Americans tuned in to watch three NFL games – yearly games that have become almost as much a part of the Thanksgiving tradition as the turkey itself. Athletes, too, have been cultural icons in American history, and, whether we like it or not, they have served as role models for our youth. Generations of children have grown up watching sporting events with their parents – it’s a family affair – and game-day traditions have been handed down from...

Addressing Domestic Violence in Professional Sports

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today announced a full committee hearing on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. titled, “Addressing Domestic Violence in Professional Sports.” 

The hearing will examine the current policies of the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) with regard to domestic violence. Specifically, the hearing will examine how those policies ...

Ninth Circuit Thwarts Plaintiffs’ Efforts to Evade Removal Under CAFA

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Contributor – Civil Justice/Class Actions Frank Cruz-Alvarez, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. with Rachel A. Canfield,  Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. Addressing a question of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, weight into an issue that has split the circuit courts involving the invocation […]
Categories: Latest News

Monday Morning Mojo: Two Minute Warning

InteroMojo - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 6:30am

I was watching a little football over this Thanksgiving weekend and it’s interesting how two teams can play for 58 minutes, but in the end, most of the time, the game is decided by which team is best in the final two minutes. It is the teams that can suck it up when they are beaten up and tired that end up being the winners.

Just like football, it’s the final two minutes that determine the winners and the losers at almost everything in life. Everything we do up until that last two minutes just keeps us in the game and gives us a chance to win.

Well, we are in the final two minutes of 2014, and the winners of 2014 will be determined by what we do between now and the end of the year. I know everyone is tired and everyone needs a break, me too, but it’s those few who can dig deep, remain disciplined and push through the pain that will finish up 2014 the winners.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for spending time over the holidays with friends and family, I am all for having some fun, but I just see so many people take their foot off the gas at Thanksgiving and coast into the end of the year. And then when January 1st hits, they are at a dead stop. Then it’s really not until the middle or end of January before they are back into “game shape.”

As I said, I am for taking some time off over Thanksgiving, taking some time off over Christmas and taking a couple of days off over New Years, but I am not for taking off the entire last 2 minutes of the game. I am up for finishing the game of 2014 strong! This applies to everything in life…all aspects of our F5–Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, and Finance!!!!! The beautiful part is, if you are one of the few who choose to dig deep and finish the game of 2014 strong, there will be a lot less competition because everyone else will be sleeping, everyone else will be taking the final two minutes off. And because there are a lot less people in the game in the final two minutes of the year, it makes it a lot easier to score.

Finish 2014 STRONG!!!!!!!

Categories: Latest News

Weekend Wellness: Thanksgiving….Acid or Alkaline

InteroMojo - Sat, 11/29/2014 - 8:00am

This weekend…will you be Acidic…or alkaline?

The human body uses acids to help digest proteins and alkalines, or bases, to digest starches. But optimum body health is maintained when it is consistently in an alkaline state. In fact, research shows that maintaining a proper pH balance keeps us healthier by reducing fatigue, easing muscle pains and preventing indigestion. PH measures, on a scale of zero to 14, the level of hydrogen ion concentration. A pH level over 7.0 is more alkaline; a pH level under 7.0 is more acidic. Pure water and typical human saliva are pH neutral. Healthy human blood is slightly alkaline.

Ideally, 80 percent of what we eat should be alkaline and just 20 percent acidic. For most Americans, though, their diets are almost the opposite, too heavily dependent on processed foods and too deficient in fresh fruits and vegetables. A diet made up of dairy products, wheat and animal protein is very acid heavy and contributes to weakening your overall physical and mental health. Many health care professionals (including myself) believe excess body acidity can lead to headaches, arthritis, dry skin, fatigue, recurring infections, obesity and general weight gain, and anxiety.

And…here we go, into a decadent weekend of mostly acidic food! How tough it that?!

Now, this Thanksgiving holiday, and the leftovers for the next several days include turkey (acid) gravy (acid) Cranberry relish (acid) alcohol (acid) potatoes (acid) butter (acid) rolls (acid) stuffing (acid) creamy salad dressings (acid) Egg nog (acid), pie (acid) and green beans (alkaline YAY!!!!) We have something alkaline.

Ok, kidding aside, yes, the weekend will probably be pretty acidic. You might get acid reflux, you might feel fatigue, you might feel a little bloated and you might have some headaches.

I’m not asking you to change your food rituals, I mean, I am having stuffing (smile!). However, here are a few alkaline tips you can do to at least help the pendulum swing a little closer to the alkaline side:

  • Have lemon or lime with your water (yes, lemons and limes are alkaline!)
  • Choose Extra Virgin olive oil or coconut oil and herbs instead of creamy dressings on your vegetables and/or salads.
  • Choose leafy greens with your turkey. Some of the most alkaline are parsley, cilantro, cucumber, artichoke, lettuces, and sprouts
  • Have some green vegetables (green beans, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts to name a few) *Note, radishes, cauliflower, garlic and onion aren’t green but are very alkaline.
  • Drink some herbal tea (dandelion root is especially good) during the day or later at night.
  • Add chlorophyll and even ginger to your water.
  • Have some fruit for dessert (some fruit is acidic, but much less acidic than desserts made with sugar and butter; plus fruit has a lot of fiber and nutrients).
  • Drink filtered water (not carbonated)

Enjoy your Holiday feast! But enjoy feeling good too!

If you make a few of these additions to your weekend, you just might feel like you have a little more energy, you might have a little less brain fog, and most likely will sleep better!

Categories: Latest News

Cool Apps: Santa’s Helper in Your Pocket

InteroMojo - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 8:00am

Tis the season of gift giving and we’re getting you organized with a very important app that will help you manage your holiday shopping and keep you on budget. I know it sounds too good to be true but a great little app called mGifts can keep you and your bank account focused through the New Year.

A great app to keep handy at all times of the year, mGifts is especially helpful right now with all of the holiday shopping you’re about to do. It organizes your gift giving by keeping you on budget and managing your gift list to make sure your friends and family get a great gift from you.

Available for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, the app makes it easy and convenient to see how many gifts you still need to get, how many gifts you have purchased and how much money you’ve spent on each person or group. Groups could consist of family, friends, co-workers, past clients, or even neighbors. You can view your gift list by store, event, group or person helping you stay on budget while giving you the assurance that you’re not missing anyone.

Use the status flags to track the gifting process for each person. These include tags like “needed”, “purchased”, “wrapped” or “shipped”. Just think how accomplished you will feel being able to physically see your progress. You can also take photos of gifts and store them along with notes to remind you of important details about the item or the person you’re giving it to. Easily share your gift list with others via email as well.

mGifts is the perfect Santa’s helper for those looking for the perfect gifts for the special people in your life. Download it for only $1.99 today! Your sanity is worth every penny.

 

Categories: Latest News

“Perez v. MBA”: Clashing Perspective on Administrative Law Meet at the Supreme Court

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 1:54pm
The contrasting perspectives of the stakes in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, an administrative law case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on Monday, December 1, could not be starker. Law professors are allegedly unanimous that the Court should reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit doctrine at issue, a doctrine […]
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Seventh Circuit Continues Scrutiny of Class Action Settlements and Cy Pres

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:17am
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has, for better and worse, been at the forefront of federal class action jurisprudence recently. On the “better” side of the ledger, the appeals court has closely scrutinized and rejected a number of class action settlements in 2014. Its most recent rejection, Pearson v. NBTY, also […]
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Commerce Committee Announces Transportation Safety Nominations Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, to consider
transportation safety related nominations. Additional details regarding timing
and witness list will be forthcoming shortly.

NOMINATIONS HEARING*

Date: December 3, 2014

Hearing Start Time: To Be Determined

Location: 253 Russell Senate Office Building

*Witness list is forthcoming.

For reporters interested in reservi...

Update: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Urges Payment Processors to Deter Online Copyright Piracy

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 12:10pm
In our October 2, 2014 post, Profit, Not Ideology, Motivates Cyberlockers that Facilitate Copyright Infringement, we noted that a Digital Citizens Alliance study found that 29 out of the 30cyberlockers it reviewed accepted payment using a MasterCard or Visa credit card. We urged those payment processors to follow the example of PayPal, which has worked aggressively […]
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Rockefeller Statement on Honda's Failure to Accurately Report Injuries, Deaths Linked to Its Vehicles

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement after Honda announced that it had underreported the number of deaths and injuries linked to defects in its vehicles. 

“Honda’s failure to report important safety information to NHTSA is unacceptable. Even if such omissions were inadvertent and due to sloppy data management, it highlights the need to properly sanction companies who fail to provide NHTSA with the data it needs to protect the driving ...

Graves Encourages Americans to Shop Local, Introduces ‘Small Business Saturday’ Resolution

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 12:00am
House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today highlighted “Small Business Saturday” in appreciation of the small businesses that help build strong, prosperous communities throughout the nation. Members of the Committee joined Graves and 54 bipartisan cosponsors to support a resolution designating a day as an expression of support for America’s 28 million small businesses. 

The Graves’ resolution encourages people to buy goods and services locally from the small firms in their communities on November 29th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Again this year, Small Business Saturday coincides with the holiday weekend’s traditional surge in economic activity. Major retailers often advertise heavily for “Black Friday” shopping specials, and since 2010, Small Business Saturday has followed with a “shop local” theme. This bipartisan resolution helps raise awareness of the value of having thriving small businesses in every community and the outsized impact of small businesses on the U.S. economy.

“I’m pleased to introduce the ‘Small Business Saturday’ resolution for 2014, and express support for the small firms that serve our communities every day,” said Chairman Graves. “The Saturday after Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to simply say ‘thank you’ to a small business near you. Small businesses have a big impact on the economy, and they are built on hard work and good ideas. By employing nearly half of all private sector employees in the country, small businesses support millions of families, and we can all celebrate when they succeed.”

Cosponsors:

Rep. Bachmann
Rep. Barber
Rep. Bentivolio 
Rep. Bonamici
Rep. Brownley  
Rep. Bustos
Rep. Cardenas 
Rep. Chabot  
Rep. Chu 
Rep. Cicilline 
Rep. Clarke 
Rep. Coffman 
Rep. Collins (NY) 
Rep. Daines
Rep. DeLauro
Rep. DelBene 
Rep. Ellmers  
Rep. Esty 
Rep. Farenthold  
Rep. Garcia  
Rep. Gosar
Rep. Grijalva  
Rep. Hahn 
Rep. Hanna
Rep. Hastings
Rep. Herrera-Beutler
Rep. Huizenga  
Rep. King (IA) 
Rep. Kirkpatrick  
Rep. Latham  
Rep. Loebsack  
Rep. Leutkemeyer
Rep. Meng
Rep. Moore 
Rep. Mulvaney  
Rep. Murphy  
Rep. Pingree 
Rep. Richmond  
Rep. Ruiz 
Rep. Rush 
Rep. Ryan (OH) 
Rep. Sanchez (CA-46) 
Rep. Schakowsky
Rep. Schrader
Rep. Sensenbrenner
Rep. Shea-Porter 
Rep. Slaughter  
Rep. Speier
Rep. Takano
Rep. Tipton  
Rep. Titus
Rep. Van Hollen
Rep. Womack

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Local “Fracking” Bans Face Constititional Takings Challenges

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:28pm
Featured Expert Column – Environmental Law and Policy by Samuel B. Boxerman, Sidley Austin LLP with Ben Tannen, Sidley Austin LLP Recently, the citizens of Denton, Texas voted to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits, becoming the first municipality in the state to do so. One day later, the Texas Oil and Gas Association […]
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Monday Morning Mojo: Thanks-Giving

InteroMojo - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 6:30am

Thanksgiving is a time to give Thanks and hopefully be able to make a difference and Give back in some way to those we love and those less fortunate than us. We can give by holding a hand, by giving a hug, volunteering, or giving tangible items or money. As much as I love the holidays because I can spend time with my family and friends, it’s unfortunate how commercialized it has become. Heck, now Black Friday has really turned into Black Thursday and Friday with stores opening on Thanksgiving Day and then there is Cyber Monday in an effort to maximize profits. Are you kidding me…is this really what Thanksgiving and the holidays are all about?

One of the things we have always been passionate about at Intero is giving back and making a difference. Not just over the holidays but every day of the year. It doesn’t take much to make an amazing impact and really better the world around us. At the same time it fills our hearts with positivity attracting good things toward us and making us more productive. Who doesn’t want that?

In fact there’s a story behind the Intero Foundation that is just that, giving small and getting BIG! Back in 2002, the Christmas following the launch of Intero, a bunch of us had the urge to purchase a few bicycles and deliver them to local children in need on Christmas morning. Wow, was this one of those moments that almost made you cry. Imagine knocking on the door of a child with no Christmas tree, no toys from Santa, barely jammies on their backs, and then you bring them a bike. Each child lite up as they opened the door and realized what was happening. Joy came over their faces, relief to their little bodies, and amazement came over them. It was more than a bike to them, it was bigger, it was a memory and an experience these children may never forget. We gave a moment of hope.

What did those that gave that day receive? Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I know what came from that day was the inception of a great organization known as the Intero Foundation. Since then, our agents and employees have helped raise more than $3 million dollars and lent support to more than 130 non-profits helping thousands of children in need within the local communities we serve.

Some of the non-profits we’ve recently granted include; Sunday Friends Foundation, YMCA of Silicon Valley, Peer Court, Good Karma Bikes, Jose Valdes Math Foundation, NatureBridge, Grateful Garment Project, Next Door Solutions, TeenForce, The DreamPower Foundation, and the list goes on. The Intero Foundation partners directly with the non-profits it grants to make SURE the dollars given directly impact the children through the purchase of clothing, school supplies, computers, or by simply giving them an opportunity to experience life as all children should.

On Tuesday, December 2nd the Intero Foundation will join an international movement and day of giving back called #GivingTuesday. In the week following Thanksgiving, Americans will spend billions of dollars in the shopping frenzies around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday is a day to remind us all that giving means much more than the exchange of material goods—it means volunteering at a local shelter, helping out a friend in need, and, of course, donating to worthy causes, like our Intero Foundation.

So take this as an opportunity to help us impact a child in your own neighborhood, which may need some extra help. Donate anytime now through December 2nd at www.InteroGives.com and be confident the money is going where the children need it most.

I thank you again for your support.

      

   

Categories: Latest News

GSA Issues Draft Solicitation for New Leasing Support Services Contract

GSA news releases - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 1:00am
New Contract is Expected to Generate Approximately $100M in Rent Credits to Tenant Agencies

ObamaCare 2.0: Same Old Headaches for Nation's Classrooms

Education & the Workforce Committee - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:00am
The second year of the ObamaCare open enrollment season has begun and Americans are more displeased than ever with the president’s health care law. Schools, in particular, continue to feel the law’s negative effects, from increased costs to diminished services. In Louisiana, administrators are being forced to cut staff hours to keep their schools afloat and their students in the classroom:

Worries about running afoul of the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — have forced officials in Ascension Parish to turn the hunt for substitute teachers to a staffing agency to track hours and avoid federal penalties ... "This is really, really a major concern,” said Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association.

The uproar in education circles, as well as other industries nationwide, stems from a part of the law that requires employers to offer health insurance coverage to part-time workers who are employed 30 hours or more per week, or face federal fines of up to $2,000 per person. Superintendents said such coverage is a huge expense for school districts still reeling from five years of a near freeze in state aid for public schools. “Given the cost of benefits, that would be an unbelievable drain on school systems,” [superintendent, Ascension Parish school system] Pujol said.
– The Advocate, ObamaCare Forces Louisiana Public Schools to Scramble for Substitute Teachers

In New Jersey, school districts are even being forced to outsource their substitute teaching:

A school district in New Jersey is planning to outsource substitute teachers in an effort to counter rising costs of the Affordable Care Act. Roanoke City Public Schools in January will start using the New Jersey-based company Source4Teachers to supply it with substitute teachers, substitute aides and substitute clerical workers … Officials said they began research into the outsourcing option due to the Obamacare mandate that, as of Jan. 1, employees working an average of 30 hours or more a week must be offered health insurance. – Newsmax, Obamacare Costs Push NJ School System to Outsource Sub Teachers

As has been said time and again, the nation’s students and teachers deserve better. That’s why the House passed with bipartisan support the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575), legislation to restore the 40-hour work week. Another proposal would simply exempt schools from the employer mandate, providing relief from one of the law’s most onerous mandates.

As the committee continues to fight for commonsense health care solutions and investigate the challenges facing schools as a result of the president’s fatally-flawed law, please share #YourStory by visiting www.edworkforce.house.gov/YourStory or e-mailing us at TellYourStory@mail.house.gov.

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