Small Biz Straight Talk

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Washington, D.C., Dec 18, 2009 | comments
Small Business Friends -

The House has completed its work for the year.  It has been an extremely challenging year especially for our small business owners.  While there have been some positive legislative initiatives from our Committee, the majority leadership in the House has continued to push an agenda that hurts small businesses.  The health care bill, cap and trade, runaway spending, and increasing taxes all have a direct impact on our entrepreneurs.  As House Republicans we have tried to promote ideas that encourage the creation of jobs.  Next year, we must continue this effort to promote jobs and reduce the deficit.

Best wishes for the New Year,
 


Sam Graves



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

• Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-GA) “Stimulus II – It’s holiday spending, minus the presents

• Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) “Why Washington is Broken

• Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) “Luetkemeyer Backs Jobs Legislation That Will Put Veterans Back to Work

• Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) “Seeking to Stop Rising Debt, Luetkemeyer Opposes Raising Government Credit Limit

• Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) “The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Twice and Expecting Different Results

• Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) “Democrats’ Debt Limit Increase Points to Tough Choices Dodged



Must-Reads from the Week:

• Minneapolis Star Tribune: Small business wished for reform, but not this

• Wall Street Journal: Amid Debate, Business Owners Struggle With Estate-Tax Strategies

• Wall Street Journal: Banker Baiting 101



Administration and the SBA:

• On Monday, President Barack Obama met with bank executives to shed light on the responsibility the bankers have in helping our economic recovery due to the billions of dollars they received from tax payers last year.  The discussion focused on what these large financial institutions were doing internally to increase lending to small businesses.  Criticisms of the big banks has grown increasingly loud after receiving taxpayers money to fix their balance sheets, but doing little to pass money onto individuals and small businesses.  Moreover, Monday’s event seemed to some critics as all talk and no action on addressing the dried up lines up credit.  



Review of House Activity:

• Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4284, the Andean Trade Preferences Act, extending existing preference for an additional year.  If the Senate approves the bill, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru can continue to export certain goods, such as clothing and footwear, to the U.S. duty free.  This legislation provides a means of helping those countries develop economic alternatives to drug production and trafficking.

• On Wednesday, the House cleared H.R. 3326, the FY10 Defense Appropriations bill by a vote of 395-34.  Passage represents the last of 12 appropriation measures to pass the House.  The $636.3 billion Defense bill contained $508 billion for the Defense Department’s regular activities plus $128.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Also included in the legislation were an extension of federal unemployment benefits, COBRA benefits, the PATRIOT Act, the National Flood Insurance Program, transportation programs, fee reductions and raised guarantees for SBA loan programs.  

• On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 4314, a $290 billion short-term debt limit by a close vote of 218-214.  This legislation increases the current $12.1 trillion debt limit to $12.39 trillion.  The increase will allow the Treasury Department to keep borrowing for a couple more months, but also means that the issue will have to be revisited relatively early in 2010. 

• The final vote of the year was passage of the Democrat-sponsored jobs bill, H.R. 2847, which passed by a vote of 217-212.  Republicans dubbed the bill “son of stimulus” because it provides additional funding for programs funded under the original stimulus package, which has failed to create jobs.  Instead of redirecting unused funds under TARP to paying down our debt, the bill spends money on a variety of initiatives that Democrats hope will spur job creation.  In addition, the legislation extends unemployment benefits, COBRA, the child tax credit, and the fee reductions and raised guarantees for SBA loan programs.       



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. King (R-IA) Seeks Cosponsors for the National Right to Work Act - Rep. Kings seeks cosponsors to join the growing ranks of Right to Work supporters in Congress supporting the end of forced unionism in America.  The National Right to Work Act, H.R. 4107, was introduced last month because Americans should not be forced to pay union dues just to get or keep a job.  This legislation would repeal those sections of federal labor law which empower union officials to force working Americans to pay union dues or so-called "fees" under the threat of being fired.  Union officials would not have this compulsory power in any state if federal law, written by an earlier Congress, had not given it to them.  The time has come to end compulsory unionism in America.  Please contact Bentley Graves at Bentley.Graves@mail.house.gov or 5-4426 to cosponsor H.R. 4107, the National Right to Work Act, and show your support of this much-needed legislation. 

• Rep. Garrett (R-NJ) Seeks Cosponsors for the AMT Repeal Act - On Wednesday, the House considered H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009.  While H.R. 4213 extends dozens of expiring tax provisions through the end of 2010, it fails to include the biggest extender of them all – a patch for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for 2010.  But passing an AMT “patch” every year to prevent thousands of people from paying a tax they were never supposed to pay in the first place has become a tedious yearly theatrical exercise.  The best solution to this problem remains getting rid of the AMT altogether.  H.R. 240, the Individual AMT Repeal Act would permanently repeal America's most hated, ineffective, insidious tax.  If you are interested in co-sponsoring this legislation, please contact Matthew Turkstra at (202) 225-4465 or matt.turkstra@mail.house.gov



Review of Senate Activity:

• The Senate continues their laborious task of finalizing a health care bill.  As the holiday season quickly approaches, Senators are still waiting on a score from CBO to determine the cost of their efforts.  In the meantime, some major changes to the bill have been made including the elimination of a plan to expand Medicare and efforts to have the government manage a nationwide insurance plan.  Some Democrat members continue to withhold their support until items such as abortion and cost are negotiated.      

• On Thursday, the Senate Small Business Committee marked up two bills, S. 2862, the Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act of 2009, and S. 2869, the Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009.  S. 2869, among other things, increases the small business loan limit to as high as $5.5 million and extends for a year the fee eliminations and increased guarantee set to expire under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  S. 2862 would help small businesses gain access to the resources and tools needed to explore new export opportunities in emerging markets or expand their current export business.  Both bills passed out of committee.    



Other Small Business News off the Hill:

• The NFIB released its December 2009 “Small Business Economic Trends”

• The Small Business Administration published a study entitled, “The Nonemployer Start-up Puzzle”

• The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council released "Health Coverage Policy Cost Index 2009: Ranking the States"



Looking Forward:

The House has completed its work for the year and is scheduled to reconvene on January 12th.  Ranking Member Sam Graves’ Small Biz Straight Talk will be released next on January 15th.

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