Last week Republicans expanded their majority in the House of Representatives and captured enough seats in the Senate to seize control of Congress, splitting the balance of political power between the Capitol and the White House. While the consequences for single-party control of the Capitol remains to be seen, there are some important ramifications for the nation’s small businesses.
New Leadership on the Small Business Committees:
The House committee was already preparing for leadership change as Chairman Sam Graves R-Mo, prepared to step down in keeping with self-imposed term limits. For the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, change at the top is expected as well as the gavel switches hands from Democrat to Republican. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash will be forced to hand over leadership less than one year after assuming the chairmanship. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, currently the highest-ranking Republican on the committee, is likely to take over as chairman. Risch has pushed for more scrutiny over the small-business implications of federal regulations and has penned bills meant to help small firms raise more capital.
Republican authored tax plans may likely sit better with many small business owners than the alternatives pitched thus far by the White House which has pushed only for corporate tax reform. Small business groups have noted that most small businesses are set up as pass through entities and would therefore see no legislation that influences their tax rate.
Republicans aren’t likely to repeal the health care law in its entirety but are likely to make changes that small businesses oppose. Some owners oppose a portion of the law that declares employees who work 30 or more hours a week full-time. Those workers must be offered affordable coverage if a business will have 100 or more employees in 2015. There’s a good chance Republicans will try to ease that requirement.