Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, held a joint hearing to discuss ways to strengthen the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration, the independent regulatory watchdog that provides a voice for small businesses during the federal rulemaking process. The Office of Advocacy makes sure that federal agencies consider the impact of regulations on small businesses. This hearing follows a series of hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to reauthorize the Small Business Act.
“I thank Chairman Lankford and Ranking Member Sinema for agreeing to chair this important hearing and for adding to our discussion on how we can strategically support small businesses by crafting less burdensome regulations,” Rubio said. “As the Senate Small Business Committee continues its work towards the first reauthorization of the Small Business Act in nearly two decades, it is critical that we equip the Office of Advocacy so that it can express small business concerns during the rulemaking process.”
“I can’t think of an area of the SBA that has more impact on small businesses, whether they are aware of it or not, than the independent regulatory watchdog the Office of Advocacy,” Rubio said. “Regardless of if the business has one employee or five hundred, that business is going to be subject to regulations, both at the federal and local level. The small businesses that I hear from across Florida want smart, reasonable regulations which do not impede them from growing and expanding. One of the best ways we can ensure that regulation is not harming small businesses is to enact meaningful regulatory reform that advocates for small businesses within federal agencies.”
“The Small Business Committee hearing this week was a productive and detailed discussion of why federal regulations have a disproportionate impact on our small businesses and what Congress can do to help lighten their compliance burden,” said Lankford. “Small business owners do not get up every day and read the Federal Register to learn about the latest regulation from Washington, DC. Small businesses just want to provide for their families and serve their communities, not fight their own government. Our goal is to connect agencies with small business owners to make sure Washington sets realistic expectations and only regulates when they have to, not just when they want to.”
During questioning, Rubio also asked former Chief Counsel of the Office of Advocacy Dr. Winslow Sargeant about the way federal agencies analyze their rules’ impact on small businesses.
“There are scenarios in which a rule would place a burden on all businesses, but it could potentially place a catastrophic burden on a small business. A rule would not just cost them money, but it would put them at a direct competitive disadvantage with a business of larger scale,” Rubio said.
The video of the hearing can be found here.