U.S. House OKs small business bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill 260-163 this week that requires federal agencies to assess the impact of regulations on small businesses.

House bill 527, known as the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015, was passed Thursday on a vote roughly along party lines, with 19 Democrats crossing the aisle in support of the bill.

The bill will cost $55 million over a five-year period and will expand the rules of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. It will also give new authorities to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy to intervene in federal agency rule making. In order to pay for the bill, federal agencies may have to raise their processing fees.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a written statement that he “applauded the passage of this legislation” and he is asking the Senate to take action.

“Small business deserve a voice in Washington,” Goodlatte wrote, “The passage of this act delivers a simple, common sense mandate to the executive branch: work together with small businesses and design smarter, less burdensome rules.”

Beth Breeding, communications director for the congressman, said the bill is meant to curtail onerous regulations imposed on small businesses in the Shenandoah Valley.

“The waters of the U.S. rule the EPA is proposing is a prime example of regulations many people in the valley are concerned about,” Breeding said. “It would have an impact on farmers, homebuilders and local governments, to name a few.”

Breeding said the bill would not cut regulations, but “help make sure they are more workable for those who have to comply.”

“Each agency will be responsible for the final decisions about each of its rules,” Breeding said. “The bill helps businesses by overhauling the laws that govern how federal regulators should consider and minimize the adverse impacts of new regulations on small businesses.”

Breeding added, “Poorly crafted or overly complex rules can have a significant financial impact on small businesses.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com