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Small Biz Straight Talk

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Washington, D.C., October 23, 2009 | comments

News from Ranking Member Sam Graves and Committee Republicans:
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• Ranking Member Sam Graves, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) held a press conference with small business owners regarding health care legislation.  Watch the press conference here.

• Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) hosted special order on the House floor to discuss small business and health care.  Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Bishop (R-UT) and Rep. Lamborn (R-CO) also participated.  View their remarks here.

• Ranking Member Sam Graves in Bloomberg News: “Cash-Distressed Business Offers Investors Way to Follow Buffett

• Ranking Member Sam Graves on Talk Radio News: “Congressional Republicans Object To Obama’s Small Business Initiatives, Health Care Reform Plan

• Ranking Member Sam Graves in Forbes: “Obama's Small-Bank Plan

• Ranking Member Sam Graves in the Kansas City Star: “Graves: Obama doesn't have a "clue" on small business

• Ranking Member Sam Graves and House Republicans spent the week highlighting small businesses and the negative impact current health care proposals would have.  See their remarks after the weekly House Conference meeting.

• Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) discusses Jobs, Seniors, & Health Care on ABC 7

• Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) “Tax Increases on Small Businesses Bad Prescription for Health Care Reform

• Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) “Effort to Streamline Small Business Programs Heads to House Floor

Must-Reads from the Week:

• Wall Street Journal: For Community Banks, Obama Plan Poses Fresh Concerns

• LA Times: Community banks to get bailout money as Obama seeks to boost small business

Administration and the SBA:

• Earlier this week, President Obama announced his plan to help small businesses during this economic recession, which included a request to Congress to increase loan limits on various Small Business Administration loan programs and provide lower rates for community lending institutions to lend to small business owners.  Critics said that nothing in the President’s plan would actually incentivize lending to small businesses.

Review of House Activity:
• On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act.  The final vote was 310-106.  The legislation would direct the Energy Department to establish a Solar Technology Roadmap Committee, which would develop a comprehensive federal solar research plan.  Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the ranking Member on the House Science Committee, said that while he too supported solar energy, he had lingering concerns over the cost of the bill.  “This is not an insignificant amount, especially in our current economic climate,” he said of the bill’s $2.25 billion price tag, over a five-year period.

• On Friday, the House passed a bill reauthorizing the Coast Guard, by a 385-11 margin.  H.R. 3619 would authorize approximately $10 billion for U.S Coast Guard (USCG) operations, including $8.6 billion in discretionary funding for ongoing USCG operations, and $1.4 billion for mandatory retired pay.  The authorization is $280 million or 3 percent above the funding level requested by the administration.  The legislation would also modify USCG acquisition practices, place new regulations on certain commercial vessels, alter U.S. port security regulations, and protect operators of a U.S.-flagged ship from liability for using force against any person that participated in an act of piracy.

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

• Rep. Price (R-GA) Seeks Cosponsors for the Common Sense English Act - In 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against the Salvation Army for implementing an “English in the Workplace” policy which gave employees up to a year to learn English.  Both the Senate and the House voted to prohibit funding to the EEOC to carry out such suits.  The Common Sense English Act grants employers the freedom to establish “English in the Workplace” policies and is a permanent legislative fix to the EEOC’s overreach.  If you are interested in cosponsoring, please contact Kris Skrzycki at

• Rep. Buchanan (R-FL) Seeks Cosponsors for H.Res 847, a Resolution to Support an Open and Transparent Conference Committee Process - As the health care debate continues, an open and transparent process must be followed.  With this important public policy goal in mind, Rep. Buchanan’s resolution would call on any conference committee or meetings held to determine the final content of national health care legislation be conducted in public under the watchful eye of the American people.  This simple resolution would reassure the American people that we will not accept a process that allows for backroom deals to be cut by a select few.  If you have any questions or would like to cosponsor this important resolution, please contact Shane Lieberman at

Review of Senate Activity:

• Earlier this week, Senators passed the FY10 Homeland Security conference report by a 79-19 margin.  The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for signature.  The conference agreement’s proposed spending is 6.6 percent higher than the appropriated level for fiscal 2009, and includes $42.8 billion in discretionary funds.  In addition, the agreement would prohibit the transfer of detainees to the United States from the U.S. facility at Guantánamo Bay.

• On Thursday, the Senate voted to approve the FY10 Defense Authorization conference report by a 68-29 margin.  The measure now will go to President Obama for his signature.  Republicans expressed objections to the inclusion of language that would extend the definition of hate crimes, yet the language remains in the final package. 

• Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Mary Landrieu (D-LA), introduced S.1832, The Small Business Access to Capital Act.  S. 1832 reflects largely what President Obama announced earlier in the week.

• The Senate Small Business Committee held a hearing this week examining the unique needs small businesses have related to healthcare and if current proposals address these concerns.  Ranking Member Snowe (R-ME) said the following, “When it comes to the small business health insurance crisis that has plagued this country for years, the status quo is simply unacceptable.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, while 98 percent of large firms offer health coverage, only 46 percent of our smallest businesses, those with fewer than 10 employees, are able to provide this vital benefit – an 18 percent decline in offer rates in this decade alone.”  Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) is continuing to work behind closed doors to merge two versions of healthcare reform.

House Small Business Committee hearing summary this week:

• The House Committee on Small Business marked up legislation affecting access to capital programs on Wednesday, October 21, 2009.

Other Small Business News off the Hill:

• The NFIB released a report showing small business owners’ view of the economy.

• Senators Hutchison (R-TX) and Bond (R-MO) distributed areport on Climate Change legislation.

Looking Forward:
House Small Business Committee hearing next week:

• Full Committee Hearing, October 28, 2009 at 10:00 a.m., entitled, “The Recovery Act and Broadband: Evaluation of Broadband Investments on Small Businesses and Job Creation.” 2360 Rayburn House Office Building.



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