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Opening Statements

Luetkemeyer: "Competition and the Small Business Landscape: Fair Competition and a Level Playing Field"

State of Small Business in America

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Small Business Committee is holding a full hybrid hearing on the “Competition and the Small Business Landscape: Fair Competition and a Level Playing Field.”

Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer's opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Thank you again, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to honor the memory of Mr. Hagedorn. I would also like to thank you for holding this hearing today.

As we all know, later this evening, President Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address. Roughly 400 days since President Biden has taken office, the state of small business is in CRISIS.

Small businesses are being crushed by soaring prices, facing the highest inflation rates in 40 years.

I have heard from contractors that are unable to bid on jobs because the cost of construction materials continues to skyrocket into the unknown. Restaurant owners have limited their menus and shortened their serving hours as the high of price of food and labor challenges their bottom line. And just last month, this Committee heard from an entrepreneur who was forced to narrow his scope of business due to the climbing prices at the gas pump.

Our nation’s job creators need workers.

As we pass “help wanted signs” on the doors across Main Street, it is clear, small businesses cannot compete with the government to get their employees back to work. Unprecedented government stimulus payments have led to 10.9 million job openings in this country, and despite historic numbers of small business owners raising compensation, nearly half of small businesses cannot find workers.

Supply chain disruptions are leading to lost revenue.

90 percent of small businesses have been affected by supply chain disruptions according to the NFIB. As consumer demand climbs, our nation is plagued by backlogs at the ports and truck driver shortages. The supply chain bottlenecks have resulted in the scarcity of key materials, project delays, and new challenges for business owners to serve their customers. 

Crime is devastating small businesses.

“Smash and grab” crime waves are damaging main street storefronts, leaving small business owners to pick up the pieces. Looting not only leads to broken windows or stolen goods but small businesses have also been forced to halt operations and even face increases in insurance premiums.

Regulations are hamstringing recovery and progress.

With all of these headwinds, the last thing small businesses need is more regulations, yet according to the American Action Forum, the Biden Administration capped off its first full year in office with more than $201 billion in regulatory costs and 131 million hours in new annual paperwork.

These challenges place small businesses at a competitive disadvantage, as they lack the staff, ability to absorb costs, pricing flexibility, long-term contracts, and purchasing power. Although innovative and nimble, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups operate on very thin margins.

Just as concerning, this Administration continues to put small businesses on the back burner. As Members of the Committee, it is our job to advocate for small businesses and conduct oversight. Secretary Yellen continues to ignore the law, this Committee, and small businesses.  She is over 310 days past the April 26th deadline in law for her testify before this Committee. If a small business owner was late on a legal responsibility, I am confident that the IRS  would not exercise this level of leniency and lawlessness. Just another example of this Administration’s “rules for thee, but not for me.”

This Committee has been fortunate enough to hear testimony from SBA Administrator Guzman; however, Members of this Committee deserve responses to questions submitted for the record 9 months ago, and throughout this Congress, regarding important programs that service our small business constituents.

The current economic climate for small businesses and response from the Biden Administration are inexcusable. Main Street creates approximately two-thirds of all new jobs and is key to our nation’s recovery from the pandemic. However, the Job Creators Network found, only 7% of small businesses have fully recovered from the pandemic. It is clear, endless government spending in Washington and constantly changing mandates are not working for small businesses.

We must champion pro-growth policies of lower taxes and deregulatory actions that allow small businesses to operate independently.

In short, the multitude of challenges facing the nation’s job creators put them at a competitive disadvantage.  The state of the small business economy must improve.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on how we can restore the small business economy and decrease barriers to competition for small businesses.

I yield back.