September 2022 Advocacy Update

Ashlyn Roberts, Prism Group

Hit The Ground Running with Funding 

Congress has many items on the agenda as Members return from August recess, but funding the government is a top priority with a funding deal due at the end of the month. Appropriators are likely to aim for a continuing resolution (CR), which would hold the country over past the Oct. 1 fiscal year deadline and midterm elections. We expect a House vote on the CR as early as next week, which would likely result in a mid-December timeline for the funding bill (during the lame-duck session).

Discussions on inclusions of policy riders, like a request from the White House to send $22.4 billion in emergency COVID-19 funding, $13.7 billion in Ukraine-related funding, and legislation that would be added to codify same-sex marriage rights, are starting. The GOP is showing resistance to additional pandemic relief, and have been vocal about passing a clean CR, but there is a chance that Ukraine assistance and codification of same-sex marriage could be passed.

Analysis on the Benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act for Small Businesses

The Inflation Reduction Act could show benefits to small business owners through various tax credits including:

  • Credit for Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicles: this new credit enables buyers up to $7,500 per vehicles with weight ratings of less than 14,000 pounds with an increased credit available for heavier vehicles. 
  • Qualified Small Business Payroll Tax Credit for Increasing Research Activities: this provision increases the Small Business Payroll Tax Credit by enabling small firms to apply an additional $250,000 in qualifying research expenses (against the employer share of Medicare) beginning on January 1, 2023.

CHIPS for America

The Department of Commerce released a strategy on how $50 billion will be allocated to jump starting our domestic semiconductor industry and workforce. The program’s primary goals are to:

  • Establish and expand domestic production of semiconductors in the US
  • Build a reliant supply of mature node semiconductors
  • Invest in R&D to ensure semiconductor technology is produced in the US
  • Create thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs and construction jobs, especially for women, minorities, veterans, and those living in rural areas.

Additional State SSBCI Funding

State Small Business Credit Initiative announces another round of funding to states totaling over $2.25Bin investments to state programs supporting entrepreneurs. Most recent states to receive funding include: Colorado, Montana, New York, and Oregon. Click here for the full announcement. 

SBA Support for Local Infrastructure Contractors

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)announces streamlined support for local infrastructure contractors with an improved Surety Bond process. “Streamlining and simplifying these Work-in-Process submissions will make it easier for more small businesses—especially those in historically underserved communities —to participate in the SBG program, seize these infrastructure opportunities, and continue to lead the way in building a stronger, more equitable, and resilient American economy,” said SBA Administrator Guzman. Read more here

Key Labor Issues to be Aware of

Following a Labor Day holiday on Monday, Washington, the agencies, and the states have turned their attention to labor issues:

  • To kick-start the week, Governor Newsom of California signed AB-257 into law on Labor Day which mandates that a council of ten members (selected by the California legislature and Governor) to “establish sector-wide minimum standards on wages, working hours, and other working conditions adequate to ensure and maintain the health, safety, and welfare of, and to supply the necessary cost of proper living to, fast food restaurant workers and to ensure and effect interagency coordination and prompt agency responses regarding issues affecting the health, safety, and employment of fast food restaurant workers.”  To read more, click here and here
  • Shortly thereafter, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to rescind and replace the joint employer standard to a new rule allowing two or more employers to be joint employers of workers if they share “essential terms and conditions of employment.” This new rule would affect businesses that rely on franchisees, contractors, or staffing firms. 
  • At the agencies, the Department of Labor, Small Business Administration, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services and the NLRB issued a joint toolkit for employers seeking guidance on supporting and responding to their employees interested in exercising their right to form or join a union. To read more about these efforts, click here and here. 

Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness

The student-debt-forgiveness plan could cost up to $1 trillion and has raised questions about driving up the federal debt and potential offsets by other Biden administration policies. Some reports attribute the U.S. projected to run a $1.03 trillion deficit this fiscal year.

2023 NSBW Awards Nominations 

The Small Business Administration announced the call for nominations for the 2023 National Small Business Week (NSBW) Awards. The NSBW Awards recognize SBA-assisted small businesses’ inspirational achievements and contributions to their communities and our nation’s economy. Awards include:

  • Small Business Person of the Year
  • Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • Phoenix Awards for Disaster Recovery
  • Federal Procurement Awards
  • Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year
  • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Awards for Excellence (for large prime contractors who use small businesses as suppliers and contractors)
  • 8(a) Graduate of the Year
  • Awards to SBA Resource Partners
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award
  • Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Year
  • Small Business Investment Company of the Year

Secretary Yellen Embarks on Messaging Tour

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen will head out of town for one month to tout pro-Biden-Harris administration messaging ahead of an economy-focused election cycle. Secretary Yellen plans to hone in on two critical talking points: plans to restore fairness to the tax code and the administration’s efforts in bolstering U.S. competitiveness in building resilience to supply chain shocks. While the economy has a long way to go, these messages come at a time where the economy is in a better place than it was earlier this year.

EDA’S BBBRC Finalists Announced

Last week the Economic Development Agency announced the 21 finalists for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. These coalitions will be awarded between $25 and $100 million each to invest in the future of their regional economy. The Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by EDA to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

USDA Announces Regional Food Business Centers… This morning, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $400 million to launch 6 Regional Food Business Centers, which will facilitate coordination, technical assistance, and capacity for farmers, ranchers, and food businesses to navigate various resources and enter new markets. These food centers will target small and mid-sized businesses and farm businesses to bolster our food supply chains.

Bureau of Labor’s Job Numbers Released

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for the week ending in September 3, 2022, demonstrating a steady decrease in unemployment from the previous week and four-week average. 

Days Until the 2022 Midterm Elections: 59 Days

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