House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today announced that two new proposed rules and a request for comment have been added to the Committee’s new digital resource, “Small Biz Reg Watch”: the SBA Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contacting Program; the DHS/DOL Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment (H-2B) Program; and the extension of the EPA Lead Paint Rule to Public and Commercial Buildings.
Small Biz Reg Watch is a new initiative of the Committee, launched in January, to help small businesses participate in the development of federal regulations. This online resource on the Committee’s website will regularly highlight proposed regulations that could impact small companies and instruct business owners on how they can make comments to the federal agency considering the proposed regulation.
“These proposed regulations have the potential to affect a large amount of small businesses, and the private sector should have the opportunity to participate in the rule-making process so they can affect the outcome,” said Graves. “Compliance with environmental regulations costs small businesses four times more than large firms, so I’m pleased that the EPA has extended the comment period to provide more time for input from small businesses. We’re also pleased that the Administration appears to be working to issue rules that will make it easier for Women-Owned Small Contractors to compete.”
The SBA has published an interim final rule implementing a statutorily-mandated provision that removes the limitation on the dollar amount of set-aside contracts that women-owned small businesses can compete for under the Women-Owned Small Business Program. This statutory change is, in part, the result of the Committee’s 112th Congress small business contracting reforms that were signed into law on January 3, 2013, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. Committee Member Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) recently led an effort by the Congressional Women’s Caucus to expedite this rulemaking. This comment period ends June 6th.
The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Dept. of Labor (DOL) have issued an interim final rule that changes the prevailing wage methodology used by DOL to calculate certain prevailing wages paid to H-2B workers and employees recruited in connection with an H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The H-2B program allows non-agricultural employers facing a worker shortage to hire temporary unskilled workers from foreign countries, and is predominantly used by small businesses in the construction, amusement, landscaping, hotel, restaurant and forestry industries. The wage methodology rule, issued on April 24, 2013, is currently in effect under a “good cause” exemption and has increased the wages that small employers must pay to H-2B workers. This comment period ends June 10th.
The EPA has extended the comment deadline for interested parties to provide information and data on the presence of lead-based paint hazards in commercial and public buildings and information. The EPA is considering whether to extend its lead paint rules to cover renovation, repair, and painting activities in public and commercial buildings in a potential rulemaking. Small businesses that manage or perform renovations, repairs, or painting activities on the exterior or interior of public and commercial buildings will face increased compliance costs if EPA decides to move forward with a rule. This comment period ends July 20th.
Through the Small Biz Reg Watch initiative, the Committee regularly communicates with small businesses via email, social media, and through district events around America when new comment periods begin for select proposed rules that have a significant impact on a wide array of small businesses. The website URL is: www.smallbusiness.house.gov/RegWatch