Members of Congress Take the Small Business Challenge

The doors Kevin McCarthy usually walks through lead to a large room in Washington, D.C., where wars have been declared, presidents give State of the Union addresses and the processes of democracy regularly echo from its walls.

But earlier this summer, the Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives got an up-close and personal view of a different type of door—one that opens the garage of a constituent in his California 23rd Congressional District.

His task? Install a garage-door opener for Kern Door Co., a Bakersfield small business and NFIB member. His reward? A unique opportunity to spend a day experiencing the trials and tribulations of a typical small-business owner.

McCarthy was just 1 of 12 members of Congress who volunteered to participate in NFIB’s “Small Business Challenge,” a national campaign designed to offer lawmakers an inside perspective of the daily demands America’s entrepreneurs face. He also conducted a roundtable discussion on key issues with more than two dozen other local small-business owners, outlining his efforts to roll back unnecessary federal regulation, repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and reform the U.S. tax code.

Far to the north, Michigan Seventh District Rep. Tim Walberg spent a day of his congressional recess at SeaLandAire Technologies, a Blackman Township firm that specializes in creating sensor and surveillance systems. Hosted by NFIB member and company president David Sparks, Walberg focused his Challenge visit on company operations, where he found evidence of yet another American job-creator wrangling reams of onerous regulations that flow unceasingly from Washington.

“We need some regulations, but we’ve gone way overboard,” Walberg, who serves on the House Education and Workforce, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees, told MLive Media Group, which represents eight Michigan newspapers. “We pile regulations upon regulations. We need a playing field that is level.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkings takes the Small Business Challenge
U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas with with NFIB member
Dave Jackson at Jackson’s Greenhouse and Garden Center.

In America’s heartland,Kansas representative Lynn Jenkins toured Jackson’s Greenhouse and Garden Center and held a roundtable for Topeka business owners to share their legislative concerns. A member of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, she listened to the tax and regulatory concerns from local small-business owners.

Jenkins touted the benefits of her legislation, which would reduce the time and expense of compliance with regulations.

“You can hire an employee instead of hiring someone to mess around with the paperwork,” she explained to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Other members of Congress who took the NFIB Small Business Challenge this summer include Lou Barletta (PA), Diane Black (TN), Chris Gibson (NY), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Mike Kelly (PA), Jim Matheson (UT), Devin Nunes (CA), Scott Perry (PA), Keith Rothfus (PA), and David Valadeo (CA).

The NFIB Small Business Challenge will continue throughout the 113th Congress to provide more lawmakers with hands-on opportunities to live a day in the life of a small-business owner. If your representative has taken this important step, please send a note of congratulations. If not, there’s no better time to encourage their participation, because in just a few days, major budget and spending issues will be debated on Capitol Hill.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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