What Small Business Can Expect From the New Congress

Date: November 14, 2014 Last Edit: September 07, 2016

From healthcare to regulations, we look at what the 2014 midterm election results mean for your small business.

Small businesses will soon have more advocates in Congress
who will push for the issues that matter most to Main Street, thanks to the
2014 midterm election.

“It was great to see pro-small business candidates win on
issues that NFIB members and small businesses care about,” says Brad Close,
NFIB’s senior vice president of public policy and advocacy. “It was a great
contrast with most of these sitting senators who lost and didn’t support small
business on key issues like regulatory reform, healthcare and taxes. The
candidates who won were with NFIB on all of those issues.” 

With Republicans in control of the Senate, bills relating to
small business issues that can pass with a few Democratic votes should move
through Congress quickly, Close says. However, they’ll face President Barack Obama’s
veto pen.

“Hopefully, Obama will sign some of these into law,” Close
says. “If not, it will serve the purpose of highlighting the difference between
the president’s policies and some of the issues NFIB supports. But I think
we’ll see some good stuff pass the Senate early on, some issues that NFIB
members really care about.”

Such issues include:

1. The Affordable Care Act

There will be a strong push to repeal the 30-hour workweek
standard for full-time employees that was created under the Affordable Care Act,
Close says. The 30-hour standard has forced employees to work fewer hours and
earn less money, as employers cut hours to avoid providing mandated healthcare
coverage. “At the end of the day, it really hurt part-time employees,” Close
says. “ I think that’s something that will change, and NFIB has been leading
the charge [in lobbying for it].”

2. Deductions for Business Equipment
Purchases

There’s likely to be broad support in Congress for a
permanent extension of the Section 179 tax deduction, which allows small
businesses to deduct the cost of certain equipment purchased for its company in
one year, rather than allow it to depreciate. The deduction amount was $500,000
in 2013 and was reduced to $25,000 in 2014. There’s a chance Congress could increase
it to the $500,000 level by Dec. 31. “It’s one of NFIB’s key priorities to get
that [higher amount] restored and make that permanent,” Close says.

3. Environmental Regulations

Congress will also focus on regulations that are harmful to
small business, particularly those from the Environmental Protection Agency. Close
says he expects to see a strong vote prohibiting the EPA from changing the
Clean Water Act’s definition of a wetland to include any land that has water
overflow during any point of the year, thereby expanding the EPA’s
jurisdiction. He also expects a quick vote on approving the Keystone Pipeline’s
expansion. 

Close also says there is likely to be a strong vote on
forcing government agencies to study both the direct and indirect impact of the
EPA’s proposals on small business—something government agencies have a tendency
to dismiss. 

Related Content: News | Healthcare | Mag Wrapup | National | Regulations

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