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Statement of the Hon. Jared Golden on SBA Management Review: Office of Advocacy

I’d like to start off by recognizing Congresswoman Tenney, who is here today for her first hearing as Ranking Member of this subcommittee.

Like me, Rep. Tenney represents a primarily rural district, so I look forward to working with her to help rural and other underserved small businesses. Today, the Committee will examine the management and operations of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. The Office of Advocacy serves as the independent voice of small businesses within the federal government. It’s their job to promote the concerns of small firms before all three branches of the federal government and state policymakers.

This is a vital mission. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, so they need a seat at the table when policy is being crafted. One of the core pillars of the Office of Advocacy’s mission is to study the role of small businesses in the economy and the issues impacting entrepreneurs. Recent research initiatives include creating small business profiles for all 50 states, collecting data on small business recovery from the pandemic, and producing reports on the availability of capital for entrepreneurs.

Information like this is indispensable for policymakers.  In-depth analysis on the issues impacting small businesses can be hard to come by. Moreover, Advocacy’s economic research drives more informed policy that accounts for the interests of small businesses. However, it is difficult for this research to keep up with the constantly evolving small business community. I’m interested in ways Advocacy can provide more real time data to better inform our policy decisions.

Another vital function of the Office of Advocacy is representing small businesses when it comes to regulatory matters. For more than 40 years, Advocacy has enforced the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and other laws to ensure small businesses are heard throughout the regulatory process.

In FY2021, Advocacy provided 17 official public comment letters to 10 federal agencies on various proposed rules.  It also hosted 20 virtual roundtable discussions on proposed rules and regulatory issues. During that year, Advocacy’s interventions resulted in regulatory cost savings for small businesses.

By advocating for the interests of entrepreneurs during the rulemaking process, the office helps level the playing field for small firms, who don’t always have attorneys, accountants, and compliance officers to determine the impact of regulations on their enterprise. The office works with agencies to ensure that rules are smart, well crafted, and don’t impose an undue burden on small firms.

One important and timely example of the Office’s work on behalf of small businesses in the regulatory process is the effort of Region One Advocate Louie Luchini to raise concerns with a regulation related to Maine’s lobster fishery, which is a priority I share. I hope to find ways to collaborate with the Office on this and other topics in the future.

So today, I look forward to hearing from Mr. Clark about how we can strengthen the Office of Advocacy and ensure that small businesses have a voice at all levels of government and that we, as legislators, have the information needed to craft sound policy.

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