Small Business Congress: Reducing Health Care Costs #1 Priority

February 22, 2017

Last week, NSBA held its 2017 Small Business Congress in Washington, D.C. where small-business leaders from across the country discussed topics ranging from tax reform and alternative financing to improving the Affordable Care Act and regulatory reform. The two-day conference was packed full with policy discussions and culminated in attendees voting on what will be NSBA’s Top Priority Issues for the coming two years.

A special highlight of the conference was the welcome speakers, House Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) who discussed the state of small-business legislation in Congress and what they expect to focus on in the coming year. Attendees also heard from UPS Capital, the sponsor of the breakfast, on new lending options available to small business.

Throughout the day on Thursday, attendees heard from a number of small-business experts and policy thought-leaders who discussed the various topics below:

  • Brian Knight, Mercatus Center and Nat Hoopes, Marketplace Lending Association spoke about small business capital access, crowdfunding, investment and FinTech.
  • Patrick McLaughlin, Mercatus Center and Kevin Kosar, R Street Institute discussed the far-reaching regulatory burden on business and how a regulatory budget could greatly ease that burden.
  • Aaron Taylor from Grant Thornton and Donald Marron from the Urban Institute shared their insight on tax reform proposals, their likelihood of Congressional action, and their implications on the federal budget.
  • Brian Webb, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Marc Goldwein, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Katy Spangler, American Benefits Council and Rodney Whitlock, ML Strategies held a lively conversation on the politics and policy of the Affordable Care Act and where “repeal-and-replace” stands in Congress today.

After a day full of policy discussions, the attendees then relaxed at a reception where they networked and continued discussing how various policies would impact their business. Friday morning started with a breakfast where outgoing 2016 Chair Cookie Driscoll of C. Cookie Driscoll, Inc. in Fairfield, Pa., formally handed the gavel over to 2017 Chair Pedro Alfonso of Dynamic Concepts, Inc. in Washington, D.C. who thanked Ms. Driscoll for her service and also thanked Small Business Committee Chair Kevin Johnson of the KDJ Group, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio for his work in overseeing the event.

Following the breakfast, NSBA held the State of Small Business panel discussion where NSBA President Todd McCracken was joined by two leading economists, Chad Moutray of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Richard Schwinn of the SBA Office of Advocacy to discuss the economic outlook of small business today, focusing on NSBA’s just-released 2016 Year-End Economic Report. All three remarked on the vastly improved small-business outlook seen in NSBA’s report—as well as other recent small-business studies—and also on the fact that access to capital and job growth remained stubbornly stagnant in the last six months.

Finally, the Small Business Congress Town Hall began with NSBA’s Issue Committee leadership, Sharon Toerek of Cleveland, Ohio, Rick Snow of Scarborough, Maine, ML Mackey of Boston, Mass., Jeff Wasden of Denver, Colo. and Keith Ashmus of Cleveland, Ohio joined NSBA President Todd McCracken to lead the discussion on the various issues before the delegation. Attendees first discussed and then voted in real-time on their top issues based on category: Economic Development; Environmental and Regulatory Affairs; Health and Human Services; and Taxation. Once those discussions were finalized, the delegation voted on the overall priorities which will direct NSBA’s advocacy efforts for the coming two years of the 115th Session of Congress.

The Small Business Congress is NSBA’s biennial event held at the start of each new session of Congress, and is designed to give members a voice in determining the organization’s top priority issues. The next NSBA event will be the Washington Presentation held in June where attendees lobby their elected officials and attend a White House briefing – stay tuned to for details.