Bill introduction seeks to give small businesses ‘pathway to success’

Reps. Rod Blum (R-IA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Al Lawson (D-FL) have introduced H.R. 6446, the “White House Conference on Small Business (WHCSB) Act of 2018.”

This would authorize a fourth national conference, the last one taking place in 1995 under President Bill Clinton. The two previous occasions of the White House Conference on Small Business were in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter and 1986 under President Ronald Reagan.

The new legislation would require that the national conference occur in 2019. There were more than 1,900 delegates at the conference in 1995. At the state level, delegates would include one appointee by the governor or state, one by each member of the Senate, and one by each member of the House. Additional delegates would be appointed from state conferences (a critical piece to the success of the WHCSB, which must take place prior to the national conference), and 100 would be appointed by the President.

“The White House Conference on Small Business will provide an opportunity for small businesses in all fifty states to provide input on how government can help small businesses thrive,” Rep. Blum explained. “Since President Trump is a businessman who knows that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, now is the perfect time for this legislation.”

The small business landscape is vast in the United States. According to a press release by the Coalition for the White House Conference on Small Business, America’s small businesses account for 99 percent of U.S. private sector employers and 64 percent of net new private sector jobs. Yet, the voice of small businesses often gets overlooked.

“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and we must provide them with a pathway to success,” stated Rep. Murphy, who serves as Ranking Member of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce. “Too often, Washington legislates and regulates without sufficient understanding of how its actions impact small businesses. Our bill will give the nation’s job creators the opportunity to directly engage with the federal government so it can implement smart, informed policies that empower entrepreneurs and strengthen our economy.”

The format and activities to take place are expected to be similar to past White House Conferences on Small Business. Each past national conference has resulted in the issuing of a final report with policy recommendations and proposals for Congress and the Administration to consider, according to the Congressional Research Service. Many of these have been adopted or influential. This would also be the case with the fourth national conference, giving the United States’ diverse small business community the opportunity to address key issues it faces in the modern day business landscape.

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