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Lankford, Rubio Held Joint Hearing on Strengthening Small Businesses Voice Through SBA Office of Advocacy

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and U.S. held a joint hearing to discuss ways to strengthen the Office of Advocacy at the US Small Business Administration, the independent regulatory watchdog that provides a voice for small businesses during the federal rulemaking process. The Office of Advocacy makes sure that federal agencies consider the impact of regulations on small businesses. This hearing follows a series of hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to reauthorize the Small Business Act. 

“Today’s hearing with the Small Business Committee was a productive and detailed discussion of why federal regulations have a disproportionate impact on our small businesses and what Congress can do to help them prosper in their communities,” said Lankford. “Small business owners are looking to provide for their families and serve their communities, not trying to figure out how to comply with each federal regulation. Our goal is to connect agencies with small business stakeholders before they decide how to regulate so they can have a better measurement of the economic impact.”

“I thank Chairman Lankford and Ranking Member Sinema for agreeing to chair this important hearing and for adding to our discussion on how we can strategically support small businesses by crafting less burdensome regulations,” Rubio said“As the Senate Small Business Committee continues its work towards the first reauthorization of the Small Business Act in nearly two decades, it is critical that we equip the Office of Advocacy so that it can express small business concerns during the rulemaking process. “I can’t think of an area of the SBA that has more impact on small businesses, whether they are aware of it or not, than the independent regulatory watchdog the Office of Advocacy. Regardless of if the business has one employee or five hundred, that business is going to be subject to regulations, both at the federal and local level. The small businesses that I hear from across Florida want smart, reasonable regulations which do not impede them from growing and expanding. One of the best ways we can ensure that regulation is not harming small businesses is to enact meaningful regulatory reform that advocates for small businesses within federal agencies.”

In April, Lankford joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Finance Committee, Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to introduce the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act to require federal agencies to analyze the full impact of a proposed regulation on small businesses during the rulemaking process.

Created in 1976, the Office of Advocacy is an independent office within the Small Business Administration which advocates for small businesses during the federal regulatory process. The Office of Advocacy monitors agency compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which requires agencies to measure the economic impact regulations will have on small businesses. However, the Office of Advocacy cannot stop a rule from taking effect if an agency did not fully perform RFA analysis. 

The Office of Advocacy produces research in response to statutory mandates as well as broader economic analysis as they see fit. They also conducted outreach to the small business community, primarily by holding regional roundtable discussions. On April 29th, the Office of Advocacy held a roundtable in Oklahoma City.

CLICK HERE to view the full hearing video and opening statements.