Small businesses need a voice in Washington

By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

July 26, 2019

Washington Examiner

If there is one thing I hear from small business owners in Florida, it’s that they feel powerless to confront the federal government’s regulatory regime. By contrast, large multinational corporations almost always have a seat at the table, with armies of compliance officers to get around the rulebook. In other words, small businesses are often most affected by the federal regulations but least represented in how they come about.

Increasing small business involvement in the regulatory process should be the baseline for any meaningful reauthorization of the Small Business Act, which was last reauthorized 19 years ago. That is one of the reasons why, for the last seven months, the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has been working in a bipartisan fashion to bring the law into the 21st century.

The legislation released last week is the product of the committee’s eight legislative hearings and countless discussions of how best to help small businesses. It includes 15 individual bills from committee members, including regulatory changes that give small businesses a seat at the table of government bureaucrats in charge of writing regulations.

Unfortunately, Democrats on the committee said they could not support any bill that gave small businesses a voice in the regulatory process. Legislating requires compromise, and we made significant concessions to our Democratic colleagues on the regulatory side. But they insisted there could be absolutely no regulatory reforms.

The task ahead of us is too important for partisanship; the existential threat that China poses leaves no room for red-blue squabbling.

We have done our due diligence. We have produced an improved version of the Small Business Act that will shore up advanced manufacturing, enhance an array of programs to assist firms with development, and give small businesses a much-needed voice to navigate Washington’s regulatory environment.

Anyone paying attention can recognize that our current way of doing things is hampering small businesses, shifting firms away from real development, and that China’s revolt against American economic leadership intensifies every day. If we’re serious about providing our small businesses with the tools they need to be competitive for the challenges ahead, it will require compromise — not digging in to an unyielding, partisan stance. The stakes are too high to devolve into petty arguing.

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