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Congress at Work for July 2014

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Congress at Work: Protecting Citizens, Encouraging Small Business Growth

There was a flurry of activity in Congress in June, with themes focused on protecting citizens and encouraging small business growth. There’s even an act to review various rules to determine whether we still need them. Here’s what’s on tap.

Customer Protection and End User Relief Act (HR 4413) – Sponsored by Frank Lukas, R-Okla., this bill would reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The objective of the legislation is to better protect futures customers, provide end users with market certainty, conduct basic reforms to ensure transparency and accountability, and help farmers, ranchers and end users manage risks to help keep consumer costs low, as well as other purposes.

Text of the Scrub Act of 2014 (H.R. 4874) – This bill would establish a Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission. The objective for this nine-person commission would be to review various established sets of rules to determine if any should be repealed to eliminate or reduce the cost of regulating the economy. The commission may meet when, where and as often it determines appropriate, but not less than twice a year. Its guidelines are to review rules 1) that have been in effect for more than 15 years; 2) that impose excessive paperwork burdens; and 3) that impose disproportionately high costs on smaller entities. Its goal is to achieve a reduction of at least 15 percent in the cumulative costs of Federal regulation without impacting effectiveness.

Emerging Business Encouragement Act of 2014 (H.R. 4876) – Introduced by Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., this bill would amend the Small Business Act to provide contracting preferences and other benefits for emerging business enterprises, and for other purposes. Specifically, it would establish criteria for the designation of an emerging business enterprise, such as the number of employees, age of business, salary requirements, etc.  

Small Business Women’s Procurement Parity Act(S. 481) – This bill would amend the Small Business Act to provide authority for sole source contracts for certain small business concerns owned and controlled by women, and for other purposes. The bill enables contracts to be awarded to economically disadvantaged small business concerns owned and controlled by women in underrepresented industries.

Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act of 2014 (H.R. 4899) – The bill was assigned to a Congressional committee on June 19. The purpose of this prospective legislation is to lower gasoline prices in the United States by increasing domestic onshore and offshore energy exploration and production, and by streamlining and improving onshore and offshore energy permitting and administration. Provisions include outer continental shelf leasing program reforms, the reorganization of minerals management agencies of the Department of the Interior, process reform for the application of permits to drill, permit streamlining, funding oil and gas resource assessments, oil shale leasing, and long-range planning for American energy.

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