Tuesday Group members today outlined the caucus's economic growth and job creation priorities, which include several legislative proposals authored by group members. Participants discussed various ways they believe Congress can help reinvigorate the American economy and support small business growth through targeted tax relief, a reduction in regulatory burden, and improved lending.
Much of the focus at today's event was on legislation introduced by Reps. Mike Castle (DE-AL) and Jim Gerlach (PA-06), the Small Business Assistance and Relief Act (H.R. 5554). The bill improves the Small Business Administration's (SBA) loan programs and establishes a direct lending capital backstop program.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and it has been made clear to me through hearings before the Financial Services Committee, as well as meetings with Delaware small business owners across the state, that taking measures to help small businesses grow should be one of Congress' top priorities," said Castle. "This bill highlights some specific needs that we can address to encourage entrepreneurship and remove some of the burdens on small businesses."
"It is clear that our nation has a fundamental choice to make," Gerlach explained. "We can continue down the well-worn path of spending sprees that have fueled the growth of government while more and more Americans lose their jobs. Or we can chart a new course that empowers small business owners to use their ingenuity to create jobs and turn our economy around."
"The Small Business Assistance and Relief Act would be a first step in reversing our nation's course and restoring our collective confidence," Gerlach continued. "It recognizes that true change comes from valuing the hard work and ideas of men and women all across this country who get up each morning with a desire to provide for their families and make their communities better places to live and work."
Cosponsored by multiple Tuesday Group members, H.R. 5554 would help small business owners dedicate greater resources to hiring employees and purchasing new equipment, while reducing the excessive amount of time devoted to completing paperwork created by burdensome federal mandates.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy," said Judy Biggert (IL-13), a cosponsor of the proposal. "They create the majority of new jobs. But employers cannot recover and grow when they face constant uncertainty about government policies that raise taxes, add red tape, and tighten credit. Our bill will ease that uncertainty and provide long-term extensions of the tax relief measures job creators need most to invest in growth."
Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) agreed with Biggert on the need for Congress to support small businesses as a means to recovery.
"Small businesses are integral to the success of our economy," Paulsen explained. "They drive innovation, provide Americans with good paying jobs and bring stability to local communities. At a time when unemployment is over 9 percent nationally, giving our job providers the tools they need to grow jobs is critical. This legislation is a pro-growth, commonsense approach to reviving our economy and I'm proud to support it."
While discussing their proposals for spurring economic growth, members were critical of the Administration and Congressional leaders for advancing a harmful agenda that has created a tepid economic environment for employers. They highlighted a growing list of newly enacted mandates, regulations and taxes on American businesses as serious impediments to recovery.
"We are all here today for one reason: because the Majority party in Washington has done little to help job creation," said Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07). "The fact is the policies passed during this Congress are hurting small businesses. Higher taxes, unchecked spending and new health care mandates continue to put a drag on job creating small businesses across the nation."
Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) concurred with Lance's assessment.
"Rather than providing businesses the confidence and security they need to expand, Washington has unfortunately embraced an agenda that has led to a climate of uncertainty and doubt," Dent explained.
Rep. Charles Djou (HI-01) expressed concern over looming tax increases and discussed the importance of providing meaningful tax relief to American businesses and working families.
"Raising taxes in the middle of an economic downturn will hurt small business owners -- the engines of our economy," Djou said. "I am proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring the Small Business Assistance and Relief Act. What the American people know and what the Tuesday Group understands, is that we cannot tax and spend our way to a growing economy. What we need is fiscal responsibility in Washington and tax relief for every working family and small business to get our economy moving again."