WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), the lead Republican on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for approving a comprehensive set of reforms that will greatly help reduce the needlessly onerous burden of federal regulations on small businesses. Many provisions of the House-passed bill, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 (H.R. 527), are similar to those contained in Senator Snowe’s FREEDOM Act (S. 1030). Senator Snowe has introduced the companion bill to H.R. 527 and has called on the Senate majority to swiftly pass this legislation.

Senator Snowe, the Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said:

“If the Senate majority is serious about helping to create an environment conducive to job creation, it will bring up and approve this bill, as soon as possible. Small businesses employ about half of all private sector workers and create two-thirds of net new jobs in the U.S. economy. In meetings and on my Main Street tours, a top concern I continue to hear from small businesses is the stifling effect of needlessly onerous federal regulations. The failure of agencies to regularly review regulations with an eye toward reducing needless burden stifles small businesses’ ability to grow, plan for the future, and create jobs. It is critical that the effect of federal regulations on small businesses be taken into greater consideration throughout the entire regulatory process.”

BACKGROUND:  Along with a great deal of national and regional support, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act is also endorsed by the Maine Merchants Association and the Maine Restaurant Association. On June 9th, the U.S. Senate voted in favor (53-46) of the FREEDOM Act, which Senators Snowe and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Oklahoma) offered as an amendment on the Senate floor. The amendment was not adopted however, due to a parliamentary maneuver requiring a 60 vote threshold. Additionally, a majority of members on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the committee given jurisdiction over the legislation, voted in favor of the Snowe/Coburn amendment.  Senator Snowe testified before that committee in support of her bill on June 23, 2011.