Three bills that could lessen the regulatory burden on small business owners are making their way through Congress this week. The Financial Choice Act was passed by The House Financial Services Committee Thursday and advanced to the House. The act would repeal about 40 Dodd-Frank provisions that were enacted to regulate the consumer finance industry. The Senate is also reviewing a bill that would give employers and employees more flexibility in how and when overtime gets paid, as well as the controversial Republican-sponsored health care bill.
The Financial Choice Act, unveiled last year, would reverse some of the regulations placed on banks following the 2008 financial crisis. Critics have blamed the tightened rules for the drop in the number of community banks across the country, making it tougher for small business borrowers to get loans. While the Financial Choice Act would significantly lessen the regulatory burden on banks, critics say it goes too far in amending the Dodd-Frank rules.
The second piece of legislation, the House-approved Working Families Flexibility Act, would allow employers to offer employees paid time off or time-and-a-half payment for overtime hours worked. Public sector employees already have the option to choose, but the Fair Labor Standards Act has forestalled the practice in the private sector. Proponents of the plan say it would give employees more control over their time while Democrats have expressed opposition over a provision in the bill that gives employers the final say over when employees may take time off.
The Senate is also reviewing the replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, which narrowly passed the House last week with 217 GOP votes. The bill was rejected by 20 Republicans and all House Democrats. Republican senators have expressed criticism over the plan’s rollback of Medicaid expansion and the lack of a Congressional Budget Office assessment of its costs and effects. Small business owners are split on whether the proposed health care plan will cut costs for their businesses, while advocacy groups like the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) support the measure.
“Passage of the American Health Care Act is a crucial first step toward health-care reform that works for small business,” said NFIB president and CEO Juanita Duggan in a statement on Thursday.