Small Biz Straight Talk

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Washington, Nov 6, 2009 | comments

News from Ranking Member Sam Graves and Committee Republicans:
(Please send any member media activity to
angela.landers@mail.house.gov)

• Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) all spoke out on the House Floor on Speaker Pelosi’s Health Care bill.  View the clips here.

• Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO): “Opposes Speaker Pelosi’s Government-Run Health Care Plan” Click here to listen to the radio actuality.

• Ranking Member Sam Graves’ (R-MO) on H.R. 3737 - Small Business Microlending Expansion Act of 2009

• Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) “Unemployment Hits Highest Rate Since 1983; Small Business Jobs on Steady Decline

• Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) Dear Colleague Letter: “H.R. 3962 Fails Small Businesses

• Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) in the New York Times: “On the Hill, Protesters Chant ‘Kill the Bill’

• Rep. Steve King (R-IA): “Beware tax hikes on small businesses

• Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO): “Pelosi's Health Care Bill is Wrong Prescription for American Families

• Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL): “Supports Health Bill that Reduces Costs Without Expanding Government

• Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA): “Reads the Pelosi Health Care Bill

• Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO): “Congressman Coffman Participates in Health Reform Legislation Reading Room

• Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK): House Republicans Speak out on Speaker Pelosi’s Health Care Bill

• Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) on H.R. 1838 - To amend the Small Business Act to modify certain provisions relating to women's business centers

• Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) speaks out on the House Floor on health care and jobs

• Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) on H.R. 1845 Small Business Development Centers Modernization Act of 2009

Must-Reads from the Week:

• New York Post: Biggest loser of 'reform': small biz

• Reuters: Survey Finds 74 Percent of Small Business Owners Have No Plans to Increase Employee Headcount

• Wall Street Journal:  For CIT Customers, An Uncertain Future Looms

Administration and the SBA:

• President Barack Obama met with his Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) on Monday to discuss the economy.   President Obama was quoted as saying, “we've got a long way to go” towards reversing the increasing number of unemployed.  Bracing for another disappointing jobs report on Friday, President Obama and his economic advisory team discussed how to grow exports, build infrastructure, and increase the number of green jobs in the U.S. as ways to stunt unemployment claims and put people back to work.

Review of House Activity:

• Sweeping health care legislation is expected to be considered by the House of Representatives this Saturday in a rare weekend session.  The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet at 2:00pm today to establish the framework for the debate.  Reports indicate that not one House Republican will support the legislation and that many conservative Democrats still have serious concerns over abortion services, illegal immigrants, taxes, and the overall cost.  Some notable Democrat Committee Chairmen are expected to vote against the health care bill include Armed Service Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), and Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN). 

• On Friday, the House considered H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act.  The legislation imposes new regulations on the security practices at chemical facilities.  Republicans expressed concerns over how these new government mandates would impact an industry that has already been hit hard by the recession.  Additionally, more regulations never result in lower costs, particularly for small businesses who often have higher regulation compliance costs than their larger counterparts.

• The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would move up the effective date of new requirements on credit card issuers.  The legislation passed 331-92 and provides that H.R. 627, Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which was signed into law in May, will be effective on December 1, 2009.

Legislation and Letters Circulating Around the House:
(If you would like to publicize your small business effort in Congress, please email Paul Sass at
Paul.Sass@mail.house.gov)

• Rep. Granger Seeks Co-Sponsors on the Affordable Health Care Expansion Act (H.R. 879) - Rep. Granger is seeking co-sponsors for the Affordable Health Care Expansion Act.  Nearly 52% of uninsured Americans say that they do not have health insurance because it is too expensive.  That’s why Congresswoman Granger has introduced the Affordable Health Care Expansion Act, which provides individuals with a refundable, pre-payable tax credit toward the purchase of health insurance.  The amounts of the credits are as follows: $1,000 per individual / $2,000 per married couple / $500 per child / $3,000 per family, PLUS 50 PERCENT OF ANY ADDITIONAL PREMIUMS ON TOP OF THESE AMOUNTS.  If we are going to fix our health care system, we need to find a way to make sure that every single American has access to health care in a way that is affordable, and in a system the country can afford.  If you would like to cosponsor the Affordable Health Care Expansion Act, please contact Theresa Vawter at 5-5071 or theresa.vawter@mail.house.gov.

Review of Senate Activity:

• On Wednesday, the Senate approved H.R. 3548 as amended, an extension of unemployment insurance and tax breaks for homebuyers and businesses.  The total cost of the package is $24 billion.  The Senate’s unemployment extension would allow workers in all 50 states to draw 14 weeks of federal unemployment benefits after exhausting their regular 26 weeks of state compensation.  It would provide an additional six weeks in states with unemployment rates of at least 8.5 percent.  Moreover, the Senate bill extends the homebuyer tax credit beyond its current November 30th expiration date and broadens its eligibility.  The bill would extend the $8,000 credit for first-time homebuyers who enter sales contracts by April 30, 2010, and close within 60 days.  The bill would also allow businesses to use net operating losses from 2008 and 2009 to offset profits from five previous years, up from two years.  The measure passed by the House on Thursday by a vote of 403-12.

• The Senate passed the FY10 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriation measure Thursday night by a vote of 71-28.  The legislation now goes to conference with the House.  The Senate bill represents a 13 percent increase from FY09 levels, larger than what the President requested, and provides $64.9 billion in discretionary funding.  Besides funding the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, and the National Science Foundation, this legislation funds the Census Bureau, NASA, and makes substantial cuts to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. 

House Small Business Committee hearing summary this week:

• On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, the House Committee on Small Business met in Room 2360 of the Rayburn Building for a hearing entitled, “Small Businesses and the Estate Tax: Identifying Reforms to Meet the Needs of Small Firms and Family Farmers.”   Witnesses included Mr. Christy Spoa, Sr., President, Ellwood City Sav-A-Lot, Ellwood City, PA, representing the Food Marketing Institute; Ms. Meredith Mayes, Digital Solutions Manager, ColorCraft of Virginia, Sterling, Virginia, on behalf of the Printing Industries Association; Mr. Arthur Uhl, Uhl, Fitzsimmons & Jewett, San Antonio, Texas, representing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; and Ms. Terry Neese, Distinguished Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis, Dallas, TX.

The hearing’s focus was the phase out of the federal estate tax. Current law, which will phase out completely for those who die in 2010 only, is scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2011.  If Congress does not act, a top rate of 55% and an exemption of just $3 million would again take effect in 2011.  Small businesses and family farms are especially vulnerable to the estate tax. They may have valuable assets – such as equipment or land – that are not liquid. If, after the death of a family member, the heirs must sell those assets to pay the estate tax, the business could be inoperable.

Ms. Mayes testified that her father has spent over $730,000 on estate tax planning to ensure that the company he built is passed on to his heirs. She said the business has printing presses worth $1 million each, which could not be sold if the business were to continue.  Mr. Spoa said that he is forced to carry a life insurance policy to ensure that his family’s 91-year-old grocery is run by his children.  Mr. Uhl emphasized that the estate tax often breaks up family farms and ranches, displacing family generational farms and expediting their sale for commercial purposes.  Ms. Neese, the owner of a small business and farm that has been in her family for generations, noted that the estate tax reduces capital formation, productivity, wages and employment.  Each of the witnesses supported certainty in the law.  Ranking Member Graves said, “Death should not be a taxable event.  The notion that the federal government is owed anything upon the death of a family member is outrageous.”

The House and Senate are expected to act on the estate tax before the end of the year.  It is uncertain which legislative proposal will be considered.

View Release here.

Other Small Business News off the Hill:

• The NFIB released the top 15 reasons it opposes H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act.”

• The US Chamber has a newly updated website focusing on small business.

Looking Forward:
House Small Business Committee hearing next week:

Congress is expected to be in recess next week; therefore, Ranking Member Sam Graves’ Small Biz Straight Talk will be released next on November 20.

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