Archive: Policymakers

Legislation Seeks to Revamp Manufacturing Program

The Senate Task Force on Manufacturing on Wednesday introduced legislation designed to aid a special, public-private network of centers that assist small and medium-sized manufacturers. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership helps manufacturers expand operations, become more efficient, increase sales and create jobs. The centers currently must provide two-thirds of their funding...

By Sharon McLoone | March 26, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lawmakers Extend Tech R&D Program

Congress last night extended the life of a popular small business program that was set to expire at the end of this week. The Senate passed a bill that gives a new lease on life to the Small Business Innovation Research program, which is administered by the Small Business Administration...

By Sharon McLoone | March 18, 2009; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Spending Bill Halts Women's Contracting Plan

The spending bill signed into law this week by President Obama stops a controversial regulation that critics said would have limited opportunities for women to compete in the federal marketplace. "President Obama has made clear that women's opportunities to compete for their fair share of federal contracts will be a...

By Sharon McLoone | March 13, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Big Spending Bill Includes Small Business

The big spending bill headed to President Obama's desk for final approval has several measures in it aiming to aid the small business community. The measure overall would provide fiscal 2009 funding for nine federal departments, covering all government activities other than defense and homeland security-related agencies, whose funding was...

By Sharon McLoone | March 11, 2009; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

Senators Urge Better Agency Coordination

Manufacturers are taking a big hit in this aching economy and government agencies could do a better job of coordinating their efforts to aid them, two senators said this week. Leaders of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee -- Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), wrote to...

By Sharon McLoone | March 6, 2009; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Reconsiders 'Goodwill' Loan Provision

The Small Business Administration is holding off on implementing tighter bank lending restrictions until it can more effectively study the matter after receiving a rash of complaints about its plan from the financial and small business communities. The agency this month notified banks offering its most popular loan program that...

By Sharon McLoone | February 28, 2009; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

Landrieu: Small Business to Benefit from Economic Plan

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the head of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said today that the proposed economic recovery plan currently in debate on the Hill moves small business in the right direction. Language in the bill temporarily eliminates fees associated with the Small Business Administration's main lending...

By Sharon McLoone | February 6, 2009; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (3)

Article: SBA Nominee Has Poor Showing at Equity Fund

Karen Gordon Mills is on tap to become the next chief of the Small Business Administration, but an investigative news report questions whether she's the right person for the job. ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom, reports that the private equity fund run by Mills when she was head of Solera...

By Sharon McLoone | January 21, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

House Hearing: Small Businesses on Economic Recovery

There's no shortage of ideas on how to generate more jobs to help boost the nation out of its economic doldrums, but many members of the small business community are waiting to follow the lead of the new administration before making any expensive or big-impact decisions. "Main Street can not...

By Sharon McLoone | January 14, 2009; 05:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Business Group Offers 'Wish List' to Lawmakers

A small business advocacy group is asking lawmakers to include certain provisions in the much-talked about upcoming economic stimulus bill. The National Small Business Association said the number of small business owners who believe the national economy is worse than it was five years ago jumped to 64 percent from...

By Sharon McLoone | January 8, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Landrieu Outlines Priorities, Pushes for SBA Cabinet Seat

The push to get the Small Business Administration a seat at presidential cabinet meetings got another boost last week when incoming chair of the Senate panel overseeing small business matters called for the elevation. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who will take the helm of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee...

By Sharon McLoone | December 22, 2008; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama Expected to Name Karen Gordon Mills to Lead SBA

Karen Gordon Mills is expected to be named by President-elect Obama as the new head of the Small Business Administration this afternoon, according to sources. Mills is president of MMP Group, a private equity investor and adviser since 1993. From 1999 to 2007 she was founding partner and managing director...

By Sharon McLoone | December 19, 2008; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Louisiana Senator to Lead Small Business Committee

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has been tapped as the new chair for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee for the 111th Congress convening in January. "Bolstered by my seats on other key committees for our state, this assignment provides the seniority to fight even harder for Louisiana's more than...

By Sharon McLoone | December 16, 2008; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Group Urges Policy Makers to Focus on Small Firms

The National Small Business Association today kicked off an initiative designed to grab the interest of the next Congress and presidential administration when it comes to small firms. The association's "Think Big. Start Small" campaign aims to focus lawmakers on "one undisputed fact: small business has been, and must continue...

By Sharon McLoone | December 10, 2008; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

IRS Appoints New Small Business Commissioner

The IRS announced that it has appointed Christopher Wagner as the commissioner of the agency's Small Business and Self-Employed Division (SB/SE) and Faris Fink as deputy commissioner. Wagner was previously the deputy commissioner of SB/SE, which has about 28,000 employees, is one of the four operating divisions of the IRS...

By Sharon McLoone | October 22, 2008; 03:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Female Lawmakers Object to Proposed Women's Procurement Rule

The top Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee rallied her fellow female senators to sign a letter addressed to the head of the Small Business Administration requesting either an improvement to a proposed women's procurement rule or for its complete withdrawal. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine with...

By Sharon McLoone | September 24, 2008; 09:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Defense Authorization Bill Passes Without Updates to Small Business Programs

Two controversial small business issues attached to the Defense authorization measure passed by the Senate Wednesday night were poised to pass the chamber, but fell by the wayside when lawmakers agreed not to vote on the 100-plus amendments that were tacked onto the bill. Sen. John Kerry included language updating...

By Sharon McLoone | September 19, 2008; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Women Business Owners Set Sights on Capitol Hill

Women business owners have been amassing in force throughout the summer to prepare their policy plans and strategies to outline to lawmakers this fall. Women Impacting Public Policy, a business advocacy group, released a draft economic blueprint at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last month and hosted a similar...

By Sharon McLoone | September 3, 2008; 02:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Updates Status of r3 Initiative

The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy on Thursday released its first six-month update on the status of its top government regulations for review and reform. The Regulatory Review and Reform, or r3 initiative, stems from demands from small business owners seeking transparency in the regulatory review and reform process....

By Sharon McLoone | August 28, 2008; 02:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Baruah Outlines Five 'New Realities' for Small Businesses

Sandy Baruah gave his first public speech as the new head of the Small Business Administration yesterday in Atlanta where he outlined the agency's philosophy toward economic development and what he sees as the five "new realities" of a 21st century economy. Baruah, who holds the title of acting administrator...

By Sharon McLoone | August 20, 2008; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bush Names Sandy Baruah Acting SBA Administrator

President Bush named Sandy Baruah acting administrator of the Small Business Administration Friday afternoon. Baruah, who is awaiting Senate confirmation to hold the position of administrator, will begin as acting administrator on Monday. President Bush nominated him June 26. He previously worked at a branch of the Commerce Department. In...

By Sharon McLoone | August 15, 2008; 08:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sen. Snowe Meets with SBA Nominee

The official process to get Santanu "Sandy" Baruah situated as head of the Small Business Administration is slowly moving along since President Bush announced his intention to nominate Baruah last month. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, met with Baruah...

By Sharon McLoone | July 16, 2008; 05:07 PM ET | Comments (2)

Musical Chairs at the SBA

Top Small Business Administration official Anoop Prakash is leaving the agency to join his former boss, Steven Preston, who is now the head of the Housing and Urban Development Agency. Prakash is the SBA's associate administrator for entrepreneurial development and will become a senior advisor to Preston at HUD, according...

By Sharon McLoone | June 30, 2008; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (2)

Commerce Official Nominated to Head SBA

UPDATE: President Bush today nominated Santanu "Sandy" Baruah, the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, to head the Small Business Administration. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who chairs the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said he plans to review Baruah's record carefully to ensure that he's the right person for...

By Sharon McLoone | June 25, 2008; 04:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

The SBA: In a Jam or Shaking Like Jelly?

While doing some research on the Small Business Administration's budget for next year, I ran across a transcript for a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing held in May on the SBA's funding for fiscal 2009. As I perused the transcript, I wondered what twilight zone I had stumbled into. While lawmakers...

By Sharon McLoone | June 25, 2008; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Refutes Critics' Allegations

The Small Business Administration is defending itself from critics' claims in a recent New York Times article blaming the agency for lingering problems, including failure to provide a greater availability of loans. The article by Elizabeth Olson cited various disgruntled small business groups who criticized the agency and said its...

By Sharon McLoone | June 20, 2008; 12:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA's Preston Heads to HUD

Small Business Administration head Steven Preston was sworn in today as the secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, where he will serve as the administration's point man on the slumping housing market and subprime lending crisis. Preston is likely to be lead negotiator as Congress and...

By Sharon McLoone | June 6, 2008; 05:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Budget Resolution Includes Small Biz Bump-Up

The Senate on Wednesday passed a budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 that includes an increase in funding for some small business programs. The Senate voted 48-45 for the nonbinding $3 trillion fiscal 2009 budget that outlines spending priorities. The House is expected to pass the measure...

By Sharon McLoone | June 4, 2008; 03:55 PM ET | Comments (3)

Preston Confirmation Hearing Wrap-Up

The Senate Banking Committee held its hearing last week on President Bush's nomination of the Small Business Administration chief to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. SBA Administrator Steven Preston was the only witness at the May 22 hearing, which initially had been scheduled for May...

By Sharon McLoone | May 29, 2008; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Report: HUBZone Program Basically Ineffective

A government program designed to award federal contracts to small businesses in disadvantaged areas has grown significantly since its inception in 2000, but has not generated enough contract dollars to have a national impact, according to a new study (pdf) released today. While the program has the potential to be...

By Sharon McLoone | May 23, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Advocacy Office Pushes for Greater Autonomy

The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy is applauding (pdf) new legislation that would give it greater autonomy from its agency parent and codify an executive order requiring all federal agencies to consider the impact on small businesses when crafting regulations. For about the last 30 years, the advocacy office...

By Sharon McLoone | May 20, 2008; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Preston's Confirmation Process Underway

The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday to examine whether Steven Preston, the current head of the Small Business Administration, should take over the reins at the nation's beleaguered housing department. Preston is the only witness before the morning panel. Administration and Hill sources have told the...

By Sharon McLoone | May 14, 2008; 02:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Business on Capitol Hill (and Beyond)

Here is the Small Business blog's monthly roundup of legislation, regulation and other government activity affecting small businesses. Both Earth Day and National Small Business Week occurred in April, and much of the activity centered on those events. Legislation The House approved legislation reauthorizing programs that provide federal support for...

By Sharon McLoone | May 9, 2008; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tax Gap Plan Vexes Small Business Community

Small business advocates are mobilizing to quash a proposal being considered by a powerful Senate panel that would require credit- and debit-card issuers like MasterCard and Visa to report business owners' electronic payment transactions to the IRS. The Senate Committee on Finance is considering the plan as part of a...

By Sharon McLoone | May 1, 2008; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Experts Examine Small Firms' Role in U.S. Economy

Experts told the House Small Business Committee yesterday that times are tough for small firms with close ties to the housing market, but they're pretty good for those who have gotten cozy with the tech industry. Small businesses dominate the home building industry, according to Michael Hodgson, the owner of...

By Sharon McLoone | April 25, 2008; 02:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

Bush Pushes Economy, Trade to Small Business Owners

President Bush spoke to small business owners this morning, touting the benefits of the economic stimulus package and using the opportunity to appeal to Congress to fix the tax code and pass free trade agreements. He opened his speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit in Washington...

By Sharon McLoone | April 18, 2008; 03:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lawmakers React to SBA Head's Possible Move to HUD

Lawmakers showed mixed reaction to the president's intention to nominate Steven Preston, the head of the Small Business Administration, to the helm of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who heads the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said he'll be "sorry to see him...

By Sharon McLoone | April 18, 2008; 01:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

SBA Chief Answers Your Questions

The head of the Small Business Administration, Steven Preston, fielded questions during a live Web chat on washingtonpost.com this morning. Here's a link to the transcript. He covered issues ranging from securing funding to health insurance. Take a look -- you may find some topics relevant to you and your...

By Sharon McLoone | April 14, 2008; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Businesses Grapple with Outdated Tax Code

The small business community is rapidly become the nation's Mighty Mouse. As the economy falters and large firms are downsizing, more entrepreneurs are springing up. But as their ranks grow so do their obstacles -- lack of affordable health care and rising gas prices to name a few, along with...

By Sharon McLoone | April 9, 2008; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

President Bush Tips Hat to Small Firms

Small business and entrepreneurs got a nod from President Bush on Wednesday when he acknowledged their contributions to the nation in a speech at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce annual legislative conference in Washington. In his speech, Bush heavily promoted the impending free trade agreement with Colombia and pushed...

By Sharon McLoone | March 12, 2008; 04:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Launches Inner-City Initiative

The Small Business Administration on Tuesday announced that it has chosen 11 cities to participate in an initiative designed to stimulate jobs and growth while targeting inner-city small businesses. The Emerging 200 plan will begin in: Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee, Wis.; New...

By Sharon McLoone | March 12, 2008; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Firms Urge Agencies to Revamp Outdated Regulations

A handful of government departments and agencies should revisit particularly onerous regulations affecting small businesses, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy said at a Wednesday news conference at the National Press Club. The office accepted more than 80 "constructive" suggestions for its Regulatory Review and Reform (r3) initiative offered...

By Sharon McLoone | February 29, 2008; 01:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Biz Chairwoman Slams SBA Plan

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee. (Photo by AP) The chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee sent a letter today to the Small Business Administration requesting that the agency rethink its proposal that would change the way women-owned businesses receive federal contract assistance....

By Sharon McLoone | February 22, 2008; 04:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Senate Oversight Committee Criticizes SBA FY09 Budget

President Bush's fiscal 2009 budget proposal for the Small Business Administration asks for Congress to fund the agency at $657 million, a 15 percent increase over the 2008 request, but as the head of the agency noted in a Monday conference call, the devil is in the details. SBA chief...

By Sharon McLoone | February 4, 2008; 04:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

SBA Looks at Its Year in Review

It's the end of the year and that means its time for annual assessments of what's been accomplished. While the Small Business Administration didn't reveal any major soul searching in its year-end self-examination (pdf), it didn't pull any punches by starting off: "Following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, the U.S....

By Sharon McLoone | December 27, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fed Member Offers Sober Note to Small Businesses

The U.S. economy depends upon the vitality of small businesses, but recent deteriorating financial market conditions and weakening real estate values could impact the sector, according to testimony Wednesday from a Federal Reserve member. Frederic Mishkin told the House Small Business Committee that although market conditions have improved during the...

By Sharon McLoone | November 7, 2007; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Telecom Official Touts Airwave Auction Benefits

In a hearing before the House Small Business Committee, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin outlined the benefits for small businesses that an upcoming airwave auction will provide. He told (pdf) the committee that the auction will promote improved access to wireless broadband and facilitate the ability of small firms...

By Sharon McLoone | October 12, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Sen. Clinton Touts Health Care Plan to Small Firms

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) spoke to hundreds of women business leaders today, pushing the benefits her healthcare plan has for small businesses. "One of the decisions that I made based on all the work that I've done, all the scars that I've acquired... is that I wanted to have...

By Sharon McLoone | September 19, 2007; 04:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Releases Strategic Plan for Comment

If you've ever felt like telling the Small Business Administration what it could do better, now is your chance. The agency late last week released its strategic plan (pdf) for fiscal 2008 through 2012. The agency report outlines four strategic goals, which are largely similar to past SBA planning cycles,...

By Sharon McLoone | August 28, 2007; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Conversation With the Head of the SBA

The Small Business Administration is charged with aiding, advising and protecting small businesses throughout the nation. Last month, I sat down with its administrator, Steven Preston, to discuss the agency's initiatives and goals. Preston, a former executive with ServiceMaster and an investment banker, took the helm in July 2006. Steven...

By Sharon McLoone | July 13, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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