(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee (SBC), along with U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), introduced the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015, which ensures that federal agencies fully consider the interests and input of small businesses when considering the potential impacts of new rules on small entities.

“The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act will protect America’s small businesses at a time when the Obama Administration chooses to deliberately ignore input from small entities when issuing major rules and regulations,” said Senator David Vitter. “My colleagues and I have worked to ensure that this legislation will close loopholes that have allowed federal agencies like the EPA to actively avoid consulting with the millions of small businesses who would be impacted by their expensive, and often unnecessary, rules and regulations, and I look forward to a cleaner regulatory process in which agencies better understand how their actions would affect America’s job creators and small businesses.” 

“As the Obama Administration continues to roll out more and more regulations, the voices of small business owners are being considered less and less,” said Senator Jim Risch.  “A major concern for every small business is keeping up with this growing number of burdensome regulations.  I am glad to introduce this legislation that will require federal agencies to carefully evaluate how potential actions will impact small businesses in particular.”

“Unnecessary, burdensome regulations hurt job creators of all sizes, but especially small businesses that usually can't afford armies of lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to cut through all the red tape. Small businesses should have a stronger voice in the regulatory process, and bureaucrat regulators in all federal agencies should be forced to listen to small business concerns before finalizing regulations,” said Senator Marco Rubio. 

“Small businesses are the engines driving our economic growth, and they are increasingly threatened by government regulation,” Senator Cory Gardner said. “When the federal government imposes burdensome regulations on our economy, it’s small businesses that are hardest hit. It’s critical that small business has a voice in the regulatory process, and I’m proud to support this legislation that would force agencies to recognize and account for the impact of onerous federal rules.”

“While Iowans are voicing their concerns over major rules and regulations, federal agencies such as the EPA are ignoring their input and are continuing to overreach, expanding its power over family farms, small businesses, ranchers, and other landowners in our rural communities,” said Senator Joni Ernst.  “Iowans know what is best for Iowa, which is why it is critical that we hear directly from folks back home. This legislation gives small businesses the ability to voice concerns over these regulations before they are implemented, and forces the federal government to stop and listen to the direct impact they will have on job creators.”

“This Administration has demonstrated a willingness to advance its own goals at any cost with very little regard for the businesses and industries it cripples, or the livelihoods lost as a result,” said Senator Mike Enzi. “This bill is about being reasonable. It forces the runaway regulatory agencies to stop and think.”

The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act:

  • Clarifies that agencies must measure both direct economic impacts and reasonably foreseeable indirect economic impacts of regulations on small businesses.
  • Eliminates loopholes the Internal Revenue Service uses to avoid complying with the RFA.
  • Requires agencies to provide more detailed information in performing required analyses, including the assessment of cumulative impacts of new regulations on small businesses.
  • Expands opportunities for small businesses to provide early input on new rules through Small Business Advocacy Review panels before rules are proposed.
  • Ensures that agencies periodically review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses and further reduce small business impacts where feasible.
  • Provides relief from the massive amount of regulations imposed on small businesses by suspending fines for first-time paperwork violations without removing obligations. 

Recent evidence has indicated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to properly consult the small business community before issuing the controversial “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, as required under law. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee recently held a hearing to examine how the proposed WOTUS rule would affect small businesses. During the hearing, a representative from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy testified that the rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, and various small business owners from around the country testified as to the burdens they would face because of the rule. Despite these findings, the EPA later moved forward with finalizing the rule. Click here to read more. 

Click here to read the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act.

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