Press Releases

Luetkemeyer: We Can Take the American Dream, Put it Back into Play, and Return to a Pro-Growth Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a remote hearing titled “Harnessing the Power of Immigrant-owned Businesses to Build Back Better.”

Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer's opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and thank you for holding this hearing, especially to discuss the unique issues immigrant-owned small businesses face.  Each of us have immigrant-owned small businesses in our districts that are highly integral to our communities.  The ability to start anew, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and own a small business are all key aspects of the American dream that many immigrants are seeking in the United States.

However, immigrant-owned small businesses face the same difficult tasks that all small businesses face: how to survive the pandemic and how to deal with the daunting liberal tax policies and overregulating policies looming over their heads. This is not good for any small firm.

No matter how you slice it, higher taxes are a burden for small businesses, both the owners and their employees.  A mandatory higher minimum wage and excessive, unnecessary regulations are a burden for small businesses, small business owners, and their customers.  The continuance of stringent COVID-19 mandates is burdensome on small businesses, small business owners, their employees, and their customers.  If I sound like a broken record, that is intentional.  The list of liberal policies that this Administration and this majority want to enact that will have adverse effect on small businesses going on and on and on.

While no one can deny that the pandemic’s emergency period is unparalleled, what we can cling to is the knowledge that prior to COVID-19, small businesses were operating at historic levels.  We know that because of the previous Administration’s policies and, specifically, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, small business optimism reached record heights and the unemployment rate fell to an impressive 3.5 percent.  When small businesses have this optimism, coupled with lower taxes and fewer regulations, they are more comfortable taking risks and our communities receive new innovations that make the world a better and safer place.  These are the characteristics that drive our economy forward and keep Main Street afloat.

To get back our pre-COVID-19 small business environment, we must reject these new liberal policies and continue the previous Administration’s pro-growth policies focused on tax reform and targeted, smart deregulation.  These are commonsense principles that allow small businesses to invest their hard-earned dollars as they see fit. 

Unfortunately, the Biden administration and the left’s economic policies, along with the COVID-19 protective measures that continue to hold small businesses back, caused this group to face unprecedented challenges.  Once busy Main Streets remain dormant in locations that continue these harsh measures instituted by state and local governments.  However, state and local governments that have lifted mandates have seen small businesses begin to fight their way back to the busy Main Streets of the pre-pandemic days.

As the initial emergency period wore on, we know Congress worked diligently, in a bicameral and bipartisan nature, to begin the PPP and EIDL programs.  In addition, Congress extended the debt relief program for new and existing 7(a), 504, and Microloans.  Bipartisan Congressional efforts also created the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program for venues, theaters, and museums.  These programs have aided small businesses in every Congressional district.  They have helped all business owners of all backgrounds without limiting access to specific groups.

While these grant and loan opportunities have been vital to keeping small businesses afloat during the emergency period, these programs do require diligent oversight.  The December COVID Relief bill alone delivered $325 billion to the nation’s smallest and hardest hit businesses and industries.  When billions of taxpayer dollars are being used, we must insist they are used prudently. As I’ve said before, this Committee must ensure American taxpayer dollars are safeguarded and protected.   

I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses today and thank them for joining us.  It is my hope that with your voices we can take the American dream, put it back into play, and return to a pro-growth economy rather than the destructive pro-regulation path we are on now. Advancing all small businesses interests must continue to be a priority for this Committee.

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and I yield back.