SBA office of advocacy partnering with NAFEM

Navigating your way around the myriad current and proposed federal government regulations can be daunting. Fortunately for NAFEM and its members, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy is here to help.

“The Office of Advocacy is an independent voice for small businesses within the federal government,” said Charley Maresca, director of interagency affairs for the organization. “We help quantify the impact of regulations on companies. Then, we help ensure that Congress, the White House, federal agencies and courts, and state policy makers understand their obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act to consider these impacts in their decisions.”

Small business is mission-critical to the U.S. economy. According to the Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses, small businesses comprise 99.9 percent of all firms and 48 percent of all private-sector employees in the U.S. Given the key role small businesses play in the U.S. economy, the Office of Advocacy is an important partner to NAFEM and its members.

To stay abreast of regulatory changes and understand how they affect small businesses, the Office of Advocacy has teams of attorneys who cover specific government agencies and regularly engage with trade associations and companies nationwide. For example, Prianka Sharma, assistant chief counsel, joined NAFEM’s October 2017 Regulatory Roundtable.

“It was most helpful to understand the issues affecting the foodservice equipment industry and where we might be able to help advocate for change,” said Prianka. “Since that meeting, our office has been in touch monthly with the Department of Energy on the industry’s behalf to continue pushing for reform.”

While the office generally does not advocate on behalf of specific companies, understanding how individual companies are affected by regulation is essential to painting the larger picture with government officials. For this reason, the Office of Advocacy regularly hosts its own Regional Regulatory Roundtables. The next sessions are planned for the first week of May in Sacramento, Modesto and Santa Clarita, Calif.

“We’d welcome NAFEM members in the area to join us, as we continue to best understand how we can support the industry,” said Prianka. (Details are posted on the Office’s website.) “More than anything, we need data that quantifies the potential impact of proposed regulations, and stories that bring these impacts to life.

“Agencies find it difficult to seek out companies for information on the impact of their rules on small business; they often wait for us and other organizations to come to them,” said Charley. “We’re here to provide this perspective. Think of us as your voice within the federal government.”

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