As I spend time with constituents and small business owners during National Small Business Week, I'm dismayed to hear about the daunting challenge that lies ahead for many of these entrepreneurs who desperately want to hire more employees, but aren’t confident enough in the economy to do so.
Yesterday, I held a small business listening forum in Clayton, North Carolina, and was told that government regulations are becoming, by far, the biggest impediments to growing their small companies. Although the growth of government under the current President is intimidating, it has energized me and many of my colleagues in Washington to fight harder than ever for limited-government free market principles. Small firms have generated 64% of net new jobs over the past 15 years, so if our nation really wants to address our dire unemployment crisis, we should be making it easier for our nearly 30 million small businesses to prosper.
During this National Small Business Week, the Republicans on the Small Business Committee have been hosting small business forums and listening sessions all across America to celebrate our nation’s small firms and listen to their concerns about what the government is doing to harm their companies. In Washington, our Committee has been focusing on removing barriers for small business job creation by restoring fiscal discipline in federal spending, lowering taxes and removing burdensome regulations. However, because we only control one-third of the federal government, our efforts can only go so far.
Before my time in Congress, I worked as a Nurse and a Clinical Director for a wound care center and served as a board member with a local Chamber of Commerce. These opportunities have influenced my current role as Chairwoman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology.
In 2009, I attended a town hall meeting, with my husband, to hear an elected official speak on behalf of President Obama’s healthcare plan. Soon after, I became an outspoken critic of government-run healthcare because I saw how damaging it would be for small businesses and the healthcare industry.
Millions of Americans share the same concern today. Many people are still worried about the fact that ObamaCare imposes additional taxes, mandates and burdensome regulations on small businesses. The law also puts more healthcare decisions in Washington, when many would prefer to keep them in the privacy of a doctor-patient relationship.
Since it became law in 2010, the already high cost of health insurance premiums and healthcare has continued to rise. The employer mandate, which applies to companies with 50 or fewer workers, will force many of those companies to resist hiring or even downsize. In fact, one local business owner told me that he was forced to lay off 25 employees after analyzing the costs his business would face with the new ObamaCare regulations.
Although President Obama repeatedly promised that if you like your healthcare, you can keep it, a National Journal poll found that 41% of people who work for companies that employ 50 people or less are worried that the law’s new health insurance exchanges will take away their existing insurance when they are operational.
In addition, the law significantly grows the size of government with the creation of more than 160 boards, bureaus, and commissions. Any time the government talks about growing, small business owners everywhere cringe at the thought of more regulations. It is for this reason, as well as many others, that House Republicans passed legislation to repeal the law in January.
One saving grace in this story is that even though ObamaCare has now been law for more than a year, many of its provisions do not go into effect until 2014, therefore giving Americans more time to repeal this law. We’ve already seen one provision of ObamaCare - the 1099 tax reporting requirement - repealed. This gives me hope that more of the law can be abolished also. When looking at its damaging impact on small businesses, most will agree that rescinding this massive law would alleviate a lot of fear and uncertainty for our primary job creators - small business owners.
Last year, my friend, Congressman Mike Pence, laid out the best two-step strategy for repealing ObamaCare: winning the House in 2010 and electing a new President in 2012. The nation has already expressed their rejection of ObamaCare in last year’s election. The next opportunity for the American people to take action against this job-crushing law will be in eighteen months.