Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Strengthened Advocacy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Strengthened Advocacy

Article excerpt

The Small Business Administration's top advocate for small business says the way to strengthen agency advocacy is with more money, not by creating an independent commission.

But Rep. Jim Talent, R-Mo., chairman of the House Small Business Committee, ended a hearing recently on a bill to make the SBA's Office of Advocacy an independent commission saying he will move ahead to a markup of the legislation.

Jere Glover, chief counsel for advocacy, says his problem is not insufficient independence but rather scarce resources.

He questions some omissions of current statutory provisions in the draft bill. He asks if there is a reason for eliminating the advocacy office functions of studying and analyzing the financial markets and analyzing credit and equity availability for minorities as well as evaluating federal minority business programs.

No answers were given at the hearing. The Senate last November passed by unanimous consent a similar bill (S 1346-S Rept 106-146), sponsored by Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., Small Business Committee chairman. That committee approved a reauthorization bill in March. The Senate panel's SBA reauthorization bill gives the advocacy office a separate line in the budget.

Glover questions whether changing the advocacy office to an independent commission would make it more or less effective. He notes that the small business advocacy review panels that must be formed to examine regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration must make a report within 60 days.

"If a commission has to vote on the report, can the work of the panels be completed with 60 days?" asked Glover. "If there is a minority opinion by the commission, how will this be addressed? Will the involvement of a commission delay the process and add cost to the work of the panel and the regulatory agency?"

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, says Glover, "will this undermine agency commitment to the Regulatory Fairness Act?"

Glover says another potential problem is that a commission would alter the current working relationship of his office with other agencies and escalate existing informal negotiations to formal decision making. …

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