What Does the New Congress Mean for Small Business?

Date: November 14, 2016 Last Edit: November 17, 2016

Much needed action on legislative issues—from Obamacare to regulations to taxes—could now be on the table.

Post-election, small business owners now face a new political world. As the nation adjusts to its new President-elect Donald Trump, small business owners are surveying a new dynamic on Capitol Hill, too—one that could resuscitate long-pined for legislative activity on everything from tax to regulatory reform.  

Republicans now occupy 239 seats in the House of Representatives, while Democrats fill 193. In the Senate, Republicans lost two seats, and now edge out Democrats, 51 seats to 48 (that could be 52 to 48, pending the outcome of a Louisiana race on December 10). NFIB has strong relationships in Congress on both sides of the aisle. Twenty-four NFIB members were re-elected to Congress this week, and four new members will join their ranks: Drew Ferguson (Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District), Trey Hollingsworth (Indiana’s 9th Congressional District), Claudia Tenney (New York’s 22nd Congressional District), and Tom Garrett (Virginia’s 5th Congressional District).

All told, 91 percent of NFIB-backed federal congressional candidates won their races.

“We’re excited to welcome more NFIB members and small business owners to Congress,” said NFIB National Political Director Sharon Sussin. “Their real-world experience will help shape good policies for America’s job creators.”  

This new congressional composition could break longstanding legislative logjams, says NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “I am now feeling like a comprehensive tax reform is alive and well again,” Duggan said in an interview with the Associated Press this week.

But that’s not all. Other key small business issues that could be in play include reducing healthcare costs and rolling back regulations.

On healthcare, Democrats have enough votes to block a total repeal of Obamacare. But as insurers flee Obamacare exchanges, premiums rise, and regulatory complications mount, Congress will likely have to address changes to the system next year.  

Meanwhile, on the regulatory front, the new Overtime Rule, the Waters of the U.S. Rule, and the Clean Power Plan are massive new regulations that Congress could repeal.  

And on tax policy, NFIB will work to reform the tax code to reduce the burden for small businesses and create parity with large corporations, lowering the tax rate to 15 percent for all businesses.

*Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB.


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