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Opening Statements

Chairman Williams: “Main Street Realities: Examining the Current Economic Landscape in America”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a full committee hearing titled “Main Street Realities: Examining the Current Economic Landscape in America.”

Chairman Williams’ opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to today’s hearing where we’ll be focusing on the current economic realities impacting Main Street America. These types of hearings are especially important to our Committee because we get the chance to hear directly from our small businesses back home.

First, I want to thank our witnesses for being here today. I know all of you traveled a long way to share your stories with us, and everyone here greatly appreciates it.

This Committee serves as the voice for Main Street America in Washington. Each and every day, we strive to learn more about the current state of small business from the people who know it best: our nation’s job creators. There’s no doubt that in the first half of 2024, they’ve experienced many ups and downs.

I hold the opinion that starting a small business is the definition of the American Dream. Part of what makes America so special is that it is a place where anyone from any background can take a risk, bet on themselves, and bring a new service or product to the marketplace. Our economy is dependent upon small businesses, and it is our job here in Washington to ensure they have a fighting chance.

Unfortunately, many small businesses are dealing with a variety of challenges, many of which are a result of bad policy decisions. Main Street America has been getting bombarded with regulations that are causing small firms to play defense. Just look at the numbers: since President Biden took office, his Administration has instituted new rules that are estimated to cost over 1.6 trillion dollars.

Every dollar spent on additional compliance staff could have been used to bolster their core operations. Every hour dedicated to reading and understanding the new regulations could have been used to discover new growth opportunities. And worst of all, when a business owner fears expensive new mandates could be on the horizon, they hold on hiring that extra employee or buying that new piece of equipment.

America’s entrepreneurs have had to confront historic challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-control inflation, broken supply chains, high interest rates, and a labor shortage that is making it hard to find quality employees. But as small businesses have done countless times before, they’ve endured. But those of us here in Washington must fight back against these policies which have been strangling America’s job creators.

As we listen to the state of small business in America, we salute the entrepreneurs who continue to fight and give selflessly back to their communities. This Committee is here to help them and make life a little bit easier.

I am excited to have you all here with us today, and I am very much looking forward to today’s hearing.

With that I will yield to Representative Chu for her opening remarks.