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Small Business Committee Lays Out Priorities for New Congress

Washington, February 13, 2019

Washington, D.C.—Today, the House Small Business Committee under Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) held a hearing to examine the Committee’s priorities for the 116th Congress. Probing a panel of small business owners and experts, the Committee touched upon issues including: access to capital and federal contracts, tax reform, infrastructure and workforce development.

“From the entrepreneur just starting out with a great idea to the more established Main Street retailer, our small businesses deserve federal investments that will help them grow and thrive,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Unfortunately, recent data suggests that many small firms are not only plagued with slower hiring, but their confidence is suffering due to looming economic uncertainty. Today, our Committee heard firsthand the nuances and challenges facing small businesses. Moving forward, we will use this input to craft policy solutions that achieve our goals of improving opportunities for small firms across the board.” 

“Small business owners are poised to inject life and vitality into their communities, provide quality jobs and boost prosperity for all, but they need the proper resources and public policies to support them in unleashing their potential,” said John Arensmeyer, founder of Small Business Majority. “The 116th Congress has a clear opportunity to promote policies that truly address the needs of America’s entrepreneurs.”

“Main Street small businesses are embedded in communities -- communities composed of our employees, our customers, and the neighborhoods where we operate,” said Sabrina Parsons, CEO of the small software company Palo Alto Software in Eugene, OR. “We also recognize the importance of family in sustaining our success. Family and community are not just numbers in our bottom line, but they are part of our bottom line, and small business will be made stronger by policies that level the playing field and allow us to compete with large corporations on terms that benefit all the people small businesses serve.”

“In 1978, my wife and I founded Foley Waite, an architectural woodworking firm,” said J. Kelly Conklin, Co-Owner, Foley Waite LLC in Keniworth, New Jersey. “She was on one end of a sheet of plywood and I was on the other working out of an 800 square foot shop we lived over. Now our company owns a 13,600 foot building and employs 14 people. A healthy small business sector is vital for our country. Small businesses employ 58 million people, almost half our country’s private sector workforce. If we are not well, our country is not well.” 

“The top issue for small business is finding, recruiting, hiring, and retaining qualified and willing employees,” said Thomas Sullivan, Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “There is no single piece of legislation that can solve Main Street’s challenge of a worker shortage.  However, we believe there are legislative and business leadership solutions that will go far in addressing the need for workers.”

“Whether it’s putting small firms to work to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, expanding access to affordable credit, or tackling the workforce skills gap, the Committee will utilize the 116th Congress as an opportunity to address the challenges facing America’s diverse small businesses,” added Chairwoman Velázquez. “From the tech company that started as an idea between two friends to the local restaurant looking to expand, we know that all of these operations play an important role in generating employment opportunities for our communities, whether they be in rural or urban America.”

To watch the full hearing, click here.

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