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Thursday was a big day. In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the health care law is constitutional. In doing so, they confirmed that the law is a massive new tax on Americans. I agree with the four justices who said that the law is a vast overreach, but the Supreme Court ruled that the mandate to purchase insurance is enforced by a tax, and Congress has the right to tax. That’s far from deciding that the law is a good piece of work or somehow good for the country. It is neither. We in the current Congress have the right – even the responsibility – to repeal this law and replace it with workable solutions.
We now have our work cut out for us. I believe the will of the American people on this law is clear. Most people don’t want it, and most small businesses can’t afford it. For the sake of our economy, and small businesses in particular, we must get rid of this big government intrusion and pass workable reforms. Our nation has had unemployment rates of at least 8 percent for the past 40 months in a row. We must prevent this burdensome law from weighing down our efforts to rebound from a recession.
Our Committee has gathered testimony from three hearings and frequent correspondence from small businesses on the negative impact of the law. I shared my findings in a letter to President Obama yesterday, highlighting the great burden that it puts on small businesses, along with the numerous other onerous regulatory and tax burdens unnecessarily holding small businesses back from growth and hiring.
Common sense solutions will respect individual health care decisions and protect small businesses. Let’s start there.
This was a busy week for the House Committee on Small Business. On Monday, the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, led by Chairman Joe Walsh, held a field hearing in Illinois, titled, High Fuel Prices: The Impact on Illinois Small Businesses and Job Creation. Despite declines, the average nationwide cost of a gallon of regular gasoline remains 29 percent higher than it was two years ago. According to a recent survey by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, 72 percent of small businesses report they are affected by high energy prices. Of these businesses, 41 percent report that they have altered hiring plans and another 22 percent report reducing employee hours. The hearing studied the relationship between high gasoline prices and the economic uncertainties of small businesses in Illinois.
On Wednesday, the Committee conducted a hearing titled, Regulatory Flexibility Act Compliance: Is EPA Failing Small Businesses? This hearing examined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The hearing revealed the EPA’s regulatory assault on small business. The RFA requires federal agencies to assess the economic impact of their regulations on small businesses, small non-profits, and small governmental jurisdictions and if the impact is significant, consider alternatives that are less burdensome. Despite the importance of the RFA to the small business community, federal agencies regularly ignore the requirements of the RFA.
On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, led by Chairman Mick Mulvaney, held a hearing titled, Unlocking Opportunities: Recidivism versus Fair Competition in Federal Contracting. At the hearing, small business owners testified that they are unfairly disadvantaged by policies allowing UNICOR, also known as Federal Prison Industries, to compete for small business set-aside contracts. “Using small businesses for federal contract work is a great way to create jobs and save the taxpayer money,” said Rep. Mulvaney. “We already know that current law provides UNICOR with built-in advantages over small businesses in obtaining federal contracts, but we wanted to look into just how tilted the playing field really is.”
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