Three bills that could have an impact on small businesses if they become law advanced in Congress last week.
In addition to the Republican-sponsored health care bill that narrowly passed the House, legislation that that would undo much of the banking regulation known as Dodd-Frank was approved by a House committee. And the full House also approved a bill that would allow workers to choose between time off and cash when they work overtime.
The health care bill, which would scuttle much of the Affordable Care Act enacted under the Obama administration, passed the House by a tight 217-213 vote and now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to undergo substantial revisions.
Small business advocacy groups are split over the bill. The National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the legislation, saying it would make health care more affordable. The Small Business Majority said the bill would limit the ability of small businesses and their employees to obtain insurance.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million people would lose health insurance by 2026 under the bill.
The House Financial Services Committee passed and sent to the full House a GOP-sponsored bill that would repeal about 40 provisions in Dodd-Frank, which was enacted following the 2008 banking system collapse. The law, which increased regulations on banks with the intent of preventing another financial crisis, has been blamed in part for a sharp drop in the number of community banks across the country. These banks' primary business customers are small companies. Critics say the law has also made it harder for businesses and consumers to get loans.
The House passed and sent to the Senate a Republican-backed bill that would allow employees who work overtime to choose between compensatory time off later or time-and-a-half pay. Lawmakers who sponsored the Working Families Flexibility Act say it would give employees more control over their time. It could also save money for many employers including small businesses. However, Democrats oppose a provision in the bill that gives an employer the final say over when employees can take their time off.
--The Associated Press