In March, the Office of Advocacy hosted five roundtables on a range of matters that affect small businesses. Advocacy’s roundtables facilitate dialogue between small businesses and government agencies. These exchanges concerned issues related to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Paperwork Reduction Act, the financial industry, employee benefit plans, and occupational health and safety. The roundtables are a key opportunity for small businesses to make their concerns known, and the range of matters discussed highlights the breadth of the issues Advocacy addresses.
On March 16, Advocacy hosted its environmental roundtable led by Assistant Chief Counsels Kevin Bromberg, David Rostker, and Sarah Bresolin Silver. The roundtable focused on chemicals in federal agency rulemakings and programs. Representatives from the American Chemistry Council, Regulatory Checkbook, and IPC discussed the anticipated EPA Confidential Business Information rulemaking. They also shared concerns about the Department of Health and Human Services’ Report on Carcinogens, and provided an update on EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting Rule. In attendance were small businesses, small business trade representatives, and staff from EPA and OMB.
On March 19, Advocacy hosted a roundtable to discuss the Paperwork Reduction Act and its benefits to small businesses. Assistant Chief Counsel David Rostker led the roundtable. Notably, discussion also focused on the Administrative Conference of the United States’s draft report and recommendations for reform of the Act.
Advocacy held a roundtable on March 20 on issues affecting the financial industry. Assistant Chief Counsel Jennifer Smith led the roundtable, and participants came from the banking, mortgage, settlement services, homebuilding, credit reporting, and financial services industries. The agenda included a report on the recent small business outreach meeting for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s small business advocacy review panel on the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act/Truth in Lending Act rulemaking. Participants also provided feedback on remittance transfers, qualified mortgages, and the definition of larger participants’ rulemakings.
On March 21 Advocacy hosted a pension roundtable where small business owners, small business trade representatives, and staff from the Department of Treasury and the Senate Finance Committee met to discuss issues related to employee benefit plans. Assistant Chief Counsel Dillon Taylor organized the roundtable. The employee benefit issues discussed included: the Internal Revenue Code section 409A penalty on deferred compensation arrangements; the top-heavy rules for section 401(k) plans; cafeteria plans; and how tax reform could deter employers from offering employee benefit plans.
On March 30, Assistant Chief Counsel Bruce Lundegren hosted Advocacy’s roundtable on occupational safety and health issues. One key issue discussed was the recent publication of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) rule. This rule revises OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard to adopt the United Nations’ negotiated GHS framework. Also discussed were OSHA’s revised policy on employee incentive programs and the status of OSHA’s contemplated injury and illness prevention programs (I2P2) rulemaking.
If you would like to be added to Advocacy’s roundtable notification list, please contact the office at (202) 205-6533 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Sarah Bresolin Silver, Assistant Chief Counsel