Having an impact in Washington

Every so often someone questions why The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce should weigh in with Congress on national issues. These skeptics think that we’re wasting our efforts or we have some over-inflated ego thinking that Congress cares what small businesses in little old South Carolina think.

So it’s very helpful when we get reports on how our input to Congress has had an impact. Congressman James Clyburn in a radio interview I did with him kindly gave us credit for helping during the fight over health care reform.

More recently, we sent a letter to members on the U.S. Ways and Means Committee and Subcommittee arguing that H.R. 3 is unfair to small businesses and threatens to erase our hard-won victory for new health insurance tax credits.

Our letter was hand delivered to the Congressional offices prior to debate on H.R. 3 last week.

I received an e-mail last Thursday evening from someone attending the committee meeting. Our letter apparently was a big hit with some members.

The letter was waved around at the hearing today and quoted from by several Members of Congress, most notably Rep. Joe Crowley (D-New York), who read large portions of it, and particularly seemed to appreciate the “slap in the face” line. Wish you could have been there!

Not only is Congress listening, they are requesting our input.

Last week I was invited to attend a meeting with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) who I joined last September in a Capital-press conference successfully promoting the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act. Senator Merkley wants to assess “where we are and where we need to go on small business, access to capital, and job creation generally.”

The meeting is this week and I won’t be able to attend. However, I did provide my input to the Senator’s staff.

Fortunately, we have national partners that have a presence in Washington. Our friends at the American Sustainable Business Council, Small Business Majority and Main Street Alliance will attend the meeting.

The bottom line is that our advocacy (and yours) at the national level does have an impact.

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