NSBA Congressional BreakfastMarch 27, 2013
The final event for the collective group during the Washington Presentation was the Congressional Breakfast. Held Tuesday morning, March 19, in the Capitol Visitor’s Center, eight distinguished members of Congress attended. Each of the lawmakers in attendance shared their very close, personal ties to small business and spoke candidly about how small business shaped their world view. In addition to taking questions when time permitted, they each addressed some of the key proposals they’re working on to promote entrepreneurship and small-business growth.
The first Representative to speak was Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who serves on the Budget and Small Business Committees. An outspoken critic of wasteful spending and the overly complex tax structure, Mr. Rice underscored his commitment to easing tax complexity as well as easing regulatory burdens. He also spoke out on the importance of access to capital for entrepreneurs.
Next up was Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) who shared his background in small agriculture and shared examples of needless regulations—something he’s working to reduce. Chair of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, Mr. Tipton is also the co-founder of the first Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus which currently has 64 members.
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) then addressed the delegation and described her background as a small, organic farmer and Inn owner which helped form her belief in reducing unnecessary regulations and making running a small business easier. Mrs. Pingree is the other co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus and has a long history as a small-business owner and entrepreneur.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) then addressed the group and discussed the importance of access to capital, namely implementation of the NSBA-supported JOBS Act, in which he played a critical role. Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations, Mr. Schweikert emphasized the need for participants to urge their lawmakers to act on spending and deficit reduction.
Another member of the House Small Business Committee, Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) then spoke and underscored the importance of small business to a growing U.S. economy. Mr. Owens also serves on the Appropriations Committee where his background in tax law has come in handy. He discussed the importance of easing tax complexity as well as making exporting and global trade easier for small businesses.
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) followed and discussed the importance of making running a small business easier. Specifically, Mr. Begich discussed the need for sensible regulations and taxation, and mentioned his instrumental role in repealing the expanded 1099 reporting requirement—a major win for small business. A strong supporter of fiscal restraint, Begich serves on the Appropriations Committee and has been outspoken on the need for tax reform.
Following Sen. Begich was Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) who talked about the importance of addressing workforce issues for small businesses, many of which struggle to find quality, trained workers. A member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Heitkamp also discussed the importance of access to capital to all small-business owners, and particularly women-owned small businesses, as well as the critical role community banks play.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) closed out the breakfast with stories about his family’s small businesses and the unique challenges facing small business. Mr. Franken discussed the importance of paying federal subcontractors in a timely manner—something that hits very close to home for him—as well as the need to ensure immigration reform doesn’t unduly burden small business. He also discussed the importance of availability of capital for small businesses.
Following the breakfast, NSBA members set out on their hill visits to talk with their elected officials about key small-business issues. The delegation met with countless Senators, Representatives and their staffs, and raised important issues such as reducing the deficit, immigration reform and e-verify, access to capital, a national regulatory budget, and much more.