NSBA Members Attend White House Briefing

September 15, 2011

A highlight of NSBA’s Washington Presentation, held this week, was the White House Briefing. NSBA members attended this year’s briefing from the administration at the White House on Wednesday, Sept. 14 where they heard from a host of distinguished administration officials on a variety of small-business issues.

Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) kicked off the briefing where she discussed the Small Business Jobs Act—passed last year—implementation and some of the various SBA lending programs and updates to those programs. Johns took questions from the audience on contracting issues as well as the myriad benefits to small-business exporting.

Next to the podium was Associate Administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Michael Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick focused in on small-business issues and the critical role of OIRA in overseeing regulations. He highlighted President Barack Obama’s efforts to streamline regulation, and was candid in telling participants that with some independent agencies—namely the National Labor Relations Board—OIRA is statutorily limited in terms of their oversight. Fitzpatrick urged small-business involvement with the regulatory process and echoed comments that OIRA would benefit from greater small-business perspective.

Jeanne Lambrew, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy next addressed the group on issues relating to implementation of the health care law. During her talk, she detailed the small-business health care tax credit and encouraged attendees to send in suggestions as to how to help small businesses make the most of the credit. Lambrew took questions from the audience, one in particular which pointed to skyrocketing premium rates, and outlined some of the market reforms that will go into place in 2014 which should address some of the problems mentioned.

Up next was Don Graves, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Treasury and Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Graves addressed the ongoing small-business credit crunch and highlighted some of the programs currently available to provide credit and financing to small businesses. He then discussed the recently-introduced American Jobs Act and highlighted various pieces of the bill, including the expedited payments to small, federal contractors.

Last, National Economic Council Chief of Staff Christine Koronides spoke in more detail about the American Jobs Act and the work of the National Economic Council. Koronides described the various advisory councils she works with and underscored that there was a good deal of small business and manufacturing representation on those councils.

The briefing was facilitated by Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Greg Nelson, who has taken a very active role in reaching out to NSBA on various small-business issues. The White House briefing offered NSBA members a unique, insider’s look at the administration, while at the same time provided administration officials a great deal of insight into the issues that matter most to small business.