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3 Questions for Sen. Mitch McConnell

Date: January 03, 2014

How the Senate Minority Leader is advocating for small businesses

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been the Senate Minority leader since 2007. Throughout his tenure, he’s fought for small business rights, earning him the NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award in 2012 (award winners support NFIB at least 70 percent of the time on key votes). Here, Sen. McConnell discusses his latest small business advocacy efforts.

As the top Republican leader in the Senate, how have you been an advocate for small businesses?

I led the fight against Obamacare and the uncertainty and higher costs it has led to, and I fought hard against the damaging tax increases this administration has proposed levying on small business owners. The administration has claimed that its tax increases only affect a tiny portion of Americans, but what it fails to mention is that its original proposal would’ve taxed more than 700,000 job-creating small businesses. Through our efforts, we managed to spare 99 percent of Americans from these tax increases, and I can promise that as long as I’m the Republican Leader, we will continue to fight to ensure no one sees another tax increase.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader

How are you keeping in touch with—and seeking feedback from—small businesses in Kentucky, and then using that information in Washington, D.C.?

I am fortunate to be able to meet regularly in Washington, D.C., and Kentucky with a diverse group of job creators, from those in manufacturing to agriculture to the healthcare sector. The common theme I hear is concern about uncertainty and stifling compliance costs triggered by regulation out of Washington.

I constantly receive information from small business owners in Kentucky that shows Obamacare is unworkable. Small business owners have reached out to us to share that their healthcare plans are unexpectedly being canceled and that the alternatives on the exchange can be 300 percent more than what they’re currently paying in premiums.

Is today an especially challenging time to be a small business owner? If so, what should Congress be doing?

The financial crisis was over five years ago, and we are still dealing with its aftermath. Entrepreneurs are still struggling to find credit and create jobs, and the regulatory tsunami we’ve seen from this administration has only compounded the problem. I hear stories from Kentucky businesses all the time about how hard it is for them to find workers willing to take the jobs they want to create; part of the problem is the massive expansion in unemployment benefits and food stamps this administration has overseen as part of its so-called stimulus. This administration has made it more lucrative for a worker to remain unemployed than to take a job. This administration has also declared a war on coal, which is leading to higher energy costs for small businesses and costing jobs.

Congress needs to make one promise to America’s small business owners: If you aren’t doing anything wrong, we will stay out of your way. Small businesses know what is best for them; they don’t need the know-it-all regulators in Washington, D.C., telling them otherwise. If we could rationalize our tax code so it wasn’t an impediment for small businesses, create some incentives for job-creating investment and turn off the mandates this administration has imposed on job creators, it would encourage economic growth more than any number of stimulus proposals coming out of Washington, D.C.

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