February Policy Update

It’s been a busy month on the policy front. Here are some of the highlights:

  • State of the Union: President Trump gave his State of the Union address on January 30. The speech highlighted the passage of the new tax framework, immigration, infrastructure, and the opioid crisis, among other topics. Trump recognized small business owners from Ohio to highlight the positive effects tax reform has had on their business.
  • Budget Watch: After missing the midnight deadline and a brief partial government shutdown, Congress passed a two-year budget agreement in the early hours of Friday morning that will raise existing budget caps on defense and non-defense spending and suspend the debt ceiling for a year. The Senate passed the measure 71-28 and the House 240-186. President Trump signed the deal. The agreement will temporarily finance the government at the current FY17 levels through March 23, allotting time for Congress to work out details for longer term spending. The bill also extends funding for disaster aid, Community Development Block Grants, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Community Health Centers.
  • Immigration: In line with his promise to Democrats to end the last shutdown in January, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has scheduled a procedural vote for Monday on shell legislation to be used for a debate on immigration.
  • Census Annual Business Survey: The Census Bureau has proposed an Annual Business Survey (ABS), which will combine multiple surveys for the 2017-2021 survey years, in order to provide more current data to the public, more often, without minimizing quality. 2017 business numbers will be available in about three years.
    • Timeline for ABS:
      • Year 1: Research and development of data and models.  First beta product (2018)
      • Year 2: Refinement of models and data. Comparison to Other Sources. Additional years and Q/A of longitudinal properties (2019)
      • Year 3: Estimates of Non-employers by Demo Characteristics (2020)
    • Cyber Security: The House Small Business Committee held a hearing entitled “Small Business Information Sharing: Foreign Cyber Security Threats” last week, to examine R. 4668, the Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2017. The Small Business Caucus will hold a Cyber Security Event in February. Details TBA.