The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration is the independent voice for small business within the federal government, the watchdog of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and a source of small business statistics and research. Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policymakers.
Advocacy was created by Congress in 1976 to be the independent voice for small business within the federal government. Leading the office is the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Chief Counsel relies on nationwide outreach, economic research, and policy analysis to identify trends and issues that affect small business. An office in Washington, DC, and 11 regional advocates support the Chief Counsel’s efforts.
The office’s publications include “Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories,” “Frequently Asked Questions about Small Business,” and research studies on small business finance, demographics, income, and other topics. The office also commissions detailed data on small business from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since 1980, Advocacy has worked with federal agencies to avoid excessive regulatory burdens on small businesses. Advocacy’s role in rulemaking is based on the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980. This law requires agencies to consider alternative ways of reducing the economic impact of their regulations on small entities. Advocacy’s efforts to have agencies comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act have saved small businesses billions of dollars in regulatory costs.
In January 2017, Advocacy’s refocused its regulatory efforts, as Executive Orders 13771 and 13777 directed federal agencies to reduce and reform regulations. These executive orders offer significant opportunities for regulatory relief targeted to small businesses. To educate federal agencies about the rules that small businesses want to see reformed, Advocacy launched a nationwide initiative, the Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables. These information gathering events take place around the country, and they involve small businesses, federal agency officials, Advocacy headquarters staff, and regional advocates. Advocacy also gathers input on regulation through an online comment form on the website.
The office has regional advocates in each of the 10 federal regions plus a national rural affairs advocate. These individuals interact with small businesses, state and local governments, chambers of commerce, and many other groups. Their outreach is a critical part of Advocacy’s effective representation of small business viewpoints.