Congress Must Not Snub Small Business: Advocate Calls for Action

By at 9 September, 2019, 8:31 am

USMCA, Relief from the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and High Health Care Costs, Access to Capital, National Privacy Legislation, and Regulatory Improvements are All on The List for Needed Action


Washington, D.C. – Congress is back in session and a leading advocacy organization for entrepreneurs and small businesses is urging lawmakers to get to work on legislative solutions that will boost entrepreneurship and help small firms compete and grow. Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said bipartisan action on key issues is possible, and petty politics must not get in the way of helping America’s entrepreneurs and their hard-working employees.

“The fast approaching 2020 election season must not get in the way of legislative efforts to help startups and small businesses. As much as entrepreneurs support oversight of federal agencies and the Administration, the imbalance of time and resources focused on investigations means less time devoted to moving legislation that supports the engine of the U.S. economy. Too many issues have not been addressed that continue to be pain points for small businesses, which serve as a drag on their competitiveness and growth.  Small business owners want Washington to focus on policies that are good for the economy, and there is unfinished business that requires the attention of Congress,” said Kerrigan.

Kerrigan noted various issues poised for positive action, but only if the congressional leadership in both the House and Senate are serious about helping small businesses and supporting individuals who want to start businesses.  These issues include:

Relief from High Health Care Costs:  Extending the moratorium on the costly health insurance tax (HIT), which hits small businesses and the self-employed, has significant support in Congress. Bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1398 and S. 172) would provide needed HIT relief for small businesses by extending current relief into 2020 and 2021. In addition, Congress has the opportunity to address “surprise billing” through market reforms, rather than costly, lengthy and non-transparent arbitration.

Passing USMCA: Sending the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to the President’s desk is important for certainty and trading relationships across a range of industries, and will greatly boost trading opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. USMCA’s various provisions and chapters modernize and greatly enhance NAFTA, which will especially benefit small businesses. See SBE Council’s FACT SHEET: USMCA Promotes Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth.

Access to Capital: Congress can resurrect and advance many elements of the Jobs and Investors’ Confidence Act (JOBS Act 3.0) that passed the U.S. House by a staggering 406-4 in the 115th Congress. This package of bipartisan bills would improve the competitiveness of U.S. capital markets and directly help entrepreneurs and small businesses access the capital they need to start businesses, scale their firms, and more effectively compete and expand in the growing economy.  Access to capital remains a challenge for small businesses and startups, and impedes entrepreneurship – still weak following the Great Recession and its aftermath – which needs a boost. There is no reason why Congress cannot pick up where it left off on bipartisanship in the 115th and advance a JOBS Act 3.0-style package.

Federal Data Privacy Framework:  The states continue to move on their own legislative solutions and rules for protecting data privacy. Fifty separate and different laws would be an unworkable, costly and highly complex regulatory system for our nation’s small businesses. A uniform federal framework would create certainty, strengthen the digital economy, and be less confusing for consumers. Congress has been talking about creating and advancing a federal regulatory framework for some time, and it is time to get moving on legislation.

Regulatory Improvements and SBA Reauthorization: Relief from the federal regulatory onslaught (that occurred during the economic recovery and caused great uncertainty and slow economic growth) has been a positive for small business and the economy. Reforms to specific rules and relief from prior excessive federal regulatory activity has boosted small business confidence. Still, the federal regulatory system remains outdated and requires small-business friendly reforms. Bipartisan legislation in the Senate, and reforms offered by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, in his mark to reauthorize the SBA are first steps that should be embraced by Republicans and Democrats, especially those who claim to support a bigger voice for entrepreneurs in the federal rulemaking process.  (See SBE Council’s letter to the Senate Committee on the need to support these reforms.)

Kerrigan said members of Congress must not punt on their responsibilities to America’s small business sector simply because we are moving into an election year:

“The knife cuts both ways for partisans who believe that productive legislative activity may benefit the incumbent president in the run up to Election 2020. Voters do not want partisan politics to get in the way of the legislative solutions and policies that are needed for the health of the country and economy. To date, the current Congress has not accomplished much of substance for small businesses or for those who want to start a business. That can begin to change on September 9,” added Kerrigan.

Related content:

SBE Council’s 2019 Policy Agenda for Entrepreneurs and Small Business.



Karen Kerrigan


SBE Council is nonpartisan advocacy, research and education organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For 25 years, SBE Council has worked on and advanced a range of private sector and public policy initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for strong startup activity and small business growth. Visit for additional information. Twitter: @SBECouncil



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