President’s Corner – August 2018

President’s Corner: All Politics is Local

WIPP President, Candace Waterman

How often have you watched your local news channel only to see a lawmaker standing with local residents or a specific constituency to highlight legislation they passed or money they brought to their local region? Chances are the people you see on the screen are there as the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by a well-organized group, able to mobilize their members when needed.

WIPP often shares pictures of our members side by side with lawmakers as we advocate on your behalf in our Nation’s Capital. WIPP’s success in Washington, D.C. has long been a direct result of our members’ willingness to mobilize when we reach out to you on an issue. Yet, another important component of this success is your engagement with lawmakers in your home districts.

We often hear the phrase “all politics is local.” At the core of this saying is the fact that you and your vote are critical to influencing your legislators, not only on what issues they focus on, but also holding them accountable for their policy positions. At WIPP, we know any successful advocacy effort must include direct communications between constituents and their elected officials.

With congressional recess upon us, I encourage you to reach out this month to your local Representative and Senators in their district offices. Take the time to set up a phone or in-person meeting with your legislator’s staff to highlight your business; the economic impact to your community in terms of job creation and revenue; and discuss a policy or regulatory issue of importance to your business.

Use the WIPP August Recess Guide to help you engage with your local legislators and amplify WIPP’s message on key issues impacting women in business.

Congress has only 35 combined legislative days left before the end of the calendar year, leaving our policymakers not much time to get things done before the end of the 115th Congress. With only 90 days until the midterm elections, which may impact the control of Congress, now is the time to reach out to your policymakers!

WIPP Works in Washington – July 2018

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action, Please

 Ann Sullivan,                 WIPP Chief Advocate

Some days I feel talked to death. The 24-hour news cycle, Twitter, Congressional hearings, roundtables, forums – you name it – everyone’s talking. But to quote an Elvis Presley song, “a little less conversation, a little more action, please.”

Congressional inaction didn’t start yesterday. The budget process has been broken for some time. In fact, Congress passed all 12 appropriations bills by the October 1st deadline (the beginning of the fiscal year) just four times in the last 40 years. However, from 2011 to 2016, not a single appropriations bill passed by itself. For the last 7 out of 10 years, Congress has failed to pass a budget. Finally, the last time the Congress passed all 12 of its appropriations bills was 1994.

The same goes for legislation. Historically, this session of Congress is on pace to pass the least amount of legislation in the last 50 years. Congress has passed 194 pieces of legislation signed into law during the first 18 months of the 115th session of Congress. Of those 194, 23 bills were symbolic or ceremonial. Roughly 1.7% of bills introduced this session of Congress have become law, compared to 4.5% of bills in the 105th session (under President Clinton), and 3.3% of bills in the 110th session (under President George W. Bush.)

No one knows better than Congressional Members that the system is broken – especially its fundamental budget responsibility. A little-known effort is commencing on Capitol Hill – the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. This Committee, comprised of House and Senate Members of both parties, is tasked with recommendations to reset the way Congress budgets and appropriates the taxpayers’ money. Recently, the Committee asked Members of Congress to share recommendations and Speaker Paul Ryan testified that the Congress should do a biennial budget. Others suggested getting rid of the Budget Committee, indexing spending to a percentage of the gross national product and eliminating the debt ceiling vote by making it automatic. What struck me most listening to the hearing was the bipartisan interest in fixing the budget process.

Two former Senate Leaders, Tom Daschle (D) and Trent Lott (R), currently lead the Commission on Political Reform as part of their work at the Bipartisan Policy Center. They have shared three recommendations to address the gridlock:

  1. Move to a two-year budget cycle, allowing more time for Members to understand programs under their jurisdiction in-depth;
  2. Get rid of the Senate filibuster but make the majority 60 votes, not 51 votes;
  3. Have a minimum number of amendments that can be offered to legislation, thus encouraging Members to get involved in legislating.

Being an eternal optimist, I believe the Congress can fix the process. One small ray of hope is the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is moving its bills at a much faster clip than we have seen in many years. I anticipate the Joint Select Committee on Budget Reform will produce serious recommendations.

Changing the rules will lead to action. Members of Congress will get back to legislating and time will be spent considering serious issues that need resolution. Getting back to an action-oriented Congress would be the first step toward more action and less talk.

President’s Corner – July 2018

The Power of WIPP’s Voice in Action

Candace Waterman,        WIPP President

As a business owner, part of what makes you successful is staying abreast of what is going on in your industry, with your customers or clients, and within your company to ensure you can take advantage of any opportunities ahead or prepare for any changes on the horizon.  At WIPP, we too are consistently keeping our ear to the ground and eyes open to changes in policy and the impact it may have on businesses like yours.

At the core of WIPP’s mission is to advocate for public policy that supports women business ownership by creating economic opportunities and a favorable regulatory environment.  This past month highlighted the power of WIPP in action.

  • When the SBA Inspector General issued an audit report on the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement Program last month that highlighted issues with implementation of sole source authority in that program. WIPP led the response, calling on Congress and the SBA to encourage federal agencies to use the WOSB program and simplify the requirements, which have proven to be confusing.
  • As Congress debated workforce development programs and how to address the skills gap in various hearings, WIPP spoke up with a letter to policymakers about ensuring women business owners have a role in these discussions and sharing recommendations on how to create a skilled, qualified workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
  • After the Department of Labor issued their final rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs) last month, WIPP was among the first to spread the word to our network about the details and impact of AHPs on the health insurance market and cost of coverage for business owners.

All of the above are a testament to the ways in which WIPP takes action on your behalf.  We know that your time is best spent running and growing your business.  However, we know the impact that a new regulation, tax or change to a government program can have on your bottom line.

That is why WIPP has spent years building key relationships with lawmakers and their staff to afford WIPP the access and clout needed to be at the table to affect change on legislation, regulations and key policy initiatives.

It is this collaborative spirit that has made WIPP successful thus far and makes people want to continue to be involved. We invite you to add your voice and join WIPP as we continue the great work of this organization on behalf of women business owners across the country.

 

President’s Corner – June 2018

Action always beats intention – and the future depends on what we do today.

Candace Waterman         WIPP President & CEO

From its inception, the core of WIPP’s mission has been uniting women entrepreneurs across the country to raise their voices and take action on issues impacting their business.  At WIPP we know that engagement of women business owners, like you, as well as organizations and corporations that support women entrepreneurship will lead to better policies and more accountable public officials.

To help us in our work to improve the economic and regulatory climate for women in business, I’m excited to announce WIPP’s 2018 Advocacy Pillars:

  • Create Parity for Women-Owned Small Businesses in Federal Contracting
  • Infrastructure Improvements
  • Fairness in the Workplace
  • Modernizing Our Tax Code
  • Increasing Access to Capital for Women

These pillars represent the core issues critical to the success of women business owners and the areas of policy WIPP will focus on in our advocacy efforts. WIPP’s Economic Blueprint provides you with a deep dive in each of these issue areas and discusses some of the current legislation as well as WIPP policy recommendations on our 2018 Advocacy Pillars.

In addition to our focus on advocacy, access to procurement opportunities is a top priority for WIPP. We are also launching our 2018 Procurement Education Platform which focuses on the following topics that are in alignment with, and support our Advocacy Pillars:

  • Doing Business with the Federal Government
  • Building Capacity
  • Financing Growth

We will work to bring you relevant educational content, webinars, events and develop partnerships that help support these key areas to federal contracting success.  WIPP already has an extensive catalog of helpful recorded webinars you can explore and a number of upcoming events around our popular procurement initiatives – Give Me 5 and ChallengeHER. We look forward to building on this great work.

The future depends on what we do today – and WIPP continues to take action to ensure that women business owners continue to be a strong economic force in the United States and increasingly, in the world.

President’s Corner – May 2018

Some people say timing is everything, but I say timing is the only thing!

WIPP President, Candace Waterman @CandaceWaterman

I have spent over 30 years in the business world, as a corporate executive, a business owner and almost 13 years with Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) helping women-owned firms get access to growth opportunities through corporate and government procurement.

For over a decade, I have worked with WIPP as a one of our partners. Thus, with the announcement of the WIPP and WBENC Strategic Partnership, the time was right for a new challenge that would harness my expertise, my network of wonderful WBENC partners and constituents, and my passion for leveling the playing field for women in business.  I am honored, and humbled to be stepping into the role of WIPP President this month.

What a future this organization has before it!  The WIPP and WBENC Strategic Partnership is a win, win, win – a win for WBENC, a win for WIPP, and a win for women business owners across our nation.  WIPP’s public policy efforts and federal procurement education programs are to become an important benefit that WBENC’s 14 Regional Partner Organizations will offer to WBEs certified in their regions.  WBENC will be adding the voices of its over 14,000 certified women-owned businesses to WIPP’s national advocacy work in Washington, ensuring that women business owners will continue to be a force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill.

WIPP has been doing amazing work for decades, yet many women business owners don’t realize the depth and breadth of WIPP’s impact on policy and the entrepreneurship ecosystem.  My first goal as WIPP President will be to raise the brand awareness for WIPP.

We’ll be creating an “Each One, Reach One” campaign, in which every person that has been engaged with WIPP will have the tools to become an ambassador for this great organization by reaching out to at least one woman business owner and bringing them into the WIPP community.  With a refreshed focus and new partnerships, we will work to improve the visibility of this great organization and all its accomplishments through our expanded network of women business owners.  I am committed to make WIPP a household name, ensuring that current or prospective women entrepreneurs know that WIPP is tirelessly working to create an economic and policy climate they need to succeed.

Second, I plan to work with our top-notch policy team to leverage the economic impact of women-owned firms in this country to expand our policy reach.  We will not only continue to take the voice of the Boardroom to the Halls of Congress, but with new partnerships that provide a regional reach and WIPP’s stellar reputation in the policy arena, we will get women business owners engaged in grassroots advocacy in their communities as well.

There are so many policy challenges and opportunities before us on issues like procurement, infrastructure, implementation of tax reform, access to capital, and workforce development.  In my role as WIPP’s President, I will dedicate my full resolve to ensuring that women’s entrepreneurship continues an upward trajectory and business owners, like you, have continued success and growth.

Thank you again for this opportunity and I look forward to meeting you all!