WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) today praised six federal agencies for being recognized by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of the National Ombudsman for their extraordinary dedication to considering small business impacts when addressing regulatory enforcement issues.  The agencies acknowledged for their efforts are the: Department of Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency; Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor; Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the Department of Health and Human Services; and Department of Commerce. 

“I applaud the SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsmen for recognizing these agencies for their tremendous efforts to work with small businesses to both ease regulatory compliance and promote equity in enforcement,” said Senator Snowe. “Small businesses can only thrive in an environment in which federal government agencies are committed to recognizing and minimizing the significant burden that rules and regulations place on smaller enterprises. I hope that additional government agencies will emulate the six being cited today so that they can be recognized in coming years.”
Established by Congress as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) in1996, the SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsman is charged with assisting small businesses when they experience undue or particularly burdensome federal regulatory enforcement actions.  The National Ombudsman receives comments from small businesses and works with federal agencies to review and resolve any regulatory fairness issues. Meanwhile, SBREFA also provided small businesses with more influence over the development of Federal regulations, additional compliance assistance for Federal rules, and new mechanisms for addressing enforcement actions by agencies. One key SBREFA requirement is that agencies produce small business compliance guides that explain, in plain language, the requirements of Federal rules and regulations.
Senator Snowe has long championed reducing the regulatory burden small businesses face daily. On May 25, 2007, President Bush signed into law a provision Senator Snowe authored that clarified the SBREFA requirement that Federal agencies publish small business compliance guides that explain complex Federal rules. This commonsense, good-government amendment, which the Senate adopted 99-0 to the “U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007” (H.R. 2206), will provide a major regulatory reform for small businesses by helping them to quickly understand their responsibilities stemming from new regulations. 

“My targeted regulatory reform will help small businesses continue to do what they do best, namely create jobs and opportunities for
America’s workers,” said Senator Snowe.  “Congress clearly needs to do all it can to reduce the small business compliance burden. Over the past twenty years, the number and complexity of Federal regulations have multiplied at an alarming rate. A recent report prepared for the SBA’s Office of Advocacy found that in 2004, the per-employee cost of federal regulations for firms with fewer than 20 employees was $7,647. That was 44.8 percent more than the $5,282 per-employee cost faced by businesses with 500 or more workers. These rules and regulations impose a much more significant impact on small businesses than larger businesses.”