Regulatory Watch


Government regulations and red tape can be a tremendous barrier to small business growth. Small businesses' regulatory compliance costs are 36 percent higher than large businesses so it is no surprise that regulations consistently rank as a top concern for small business owners. Roughly 3,300 regulations are in the pipeline this year and many of them will affect small businesses.  

Below are regulatory proposals that have been published in the Federal Register and are open for public comment. An agency publishes an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) with a proposed rule if it expects that the rule will have a significant economic impact on substantial number of small businesses. The IRFA provides information about the potential effects of the proposed rule on small businesses.  

Agencies' initial analyses of small business impacts are not always correct or complete, so the Committee on Small Business encourages small businesses to file comments through the government's online portal,, and tell federal agencies how the regulatory proposal will affect them. If you had trouble with an agency or regulation, please feel free to share your story with the Committee.

Regulations to Watch:

Small Business Investment Company Program Impact (SBICs)
Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule that would define a new class of Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) called "Impact SBICs." The intention of these Impact SBICs is to generate a positive social impact, receive returns on invested capital, and make measureable improvements for the employees, customers and communities of the companies in which they invest. This proposed rule would give a 60 percent discount in application fees for Impact SBICs as well as require that Impact SBICs be organized as limited partnerships. (PUBLISHED 2-3-2016)


Deposit Insurance Assessment Revision for Small Banks
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The FDIC has issued a proposed rule that would refine the deposit insurance assessment system for small banks. Specifically, this proposed rule would use a brokered deposit ratio to measure financial ratios, remove the existing brokered deposit adjustment for small banks, and revise the previously proposed one-year asset growth measure. As of September 2015, there were an estimated 5,015 small banks that would be affected by this rule. (PUBLISHED 2-4-2016)

IRFA - Yes

Economic Development Investments for Certified Development Companies
Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA is requesting comments regarding their Certified Development Companies (CDCs) program. Specifically, the SBA is requesting comments regarding whether CDCs should be required to invest specific amounts in local economic development activities (besides CDC lending), whether CDCs should reserve specific amounts for their future operations, and what types of activities may qualify as economic development activities. Currently, there are 270 CDCs in the United States. (PUBLISHED 1-15-2016)


COMMENTS DUE 3-15-2016
Minimum Quality and Handling Standards for Domestic and Imported Peanuts Marketed in the United States; Change to the Quality and Handling Requirements
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA has issued a proposed rule to revise the minimum quality and handling standards for domestic and imported peanuts in the United States. The proposed rule would revise the minimum quality, positive lot identification, and reporting and recordkeeping requirements. The majority of peanut handlers, importers and producers are small businesses and would be affected. (PUBLISHED 1-19-2016)


COMMENTS DUE 3-21-2016
Carrier Safety Fitness Determination
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The FMCSA has issued a proposed rule to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to revise the evaluation process for identifying unfit motor carriers. This proposed rule would increase the amount of on-road safety performance data used in the evaluation as well as eliminate the current three-tier rating system in favor of a single determination system. The agency expects that this proposed rule could affect roughly 503,000 small businesses that are commercial motor carriers, which operate buses and trucks. (PUBLISHED 1-21-2016)

IRFA - Yes

COMMENTS DUE 3-21-2016
Federal Acquisition Regulations: Payment of Subcontractors

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement a section of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.This statute requires contractors to notify the contracting officer if the contractor pays a reduced price to a small business subcontractor, or if the contractor's payment to a small business contractor is more than 90 days late. The proposed rule would apply to payments made to small businesses that are first-tier subcontractors to prime government contractors and should encourage large business prime contractors to pay small business subcontractors the agreed upon contractual price in a timely manner. (PUBLISHED 1-20-2016)

IRFA - Yes

COMMENTS DUE 3-26-2016

Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors
Department of Labor (DOL)

The DOL issued a proposed rule requiring that federal contractors and subcontractors provide employees with up to 7 days of annual sick leave which must be allowed to continue accumulating from year-to-year. The rule may also affect the manner in which paid time off is made available to employees of federal prime and subcontractors. This rule is expected to affect small businesses through regulatory familiarization costs, implementation costs, payroll costs, and costs associated with increased record keeping.Based on the GSA's System for Award Management for August 2015, there were an estimated 422,400 small business contractors that would be affected by this rule. (PUBLISHED 2-25-2016)

IRFA - Yes

COMMENTS DUE 4-12-2016

Regulatory Resources:

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments