[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 56 (Wednesday, April 18, 2012)]
[House]
[Pages H1964-H1967]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     SOLUTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Landry). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Graves) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, tonight we're going to have a 
conversation that I think impacts Americans all across this country, 
and it's about small businesses, and what has this Congress been doing, 
what has the President been doing or promoting, and how is it impacting 
small businesses.
  I am going to be joined tonight by some great, great colleagues and 
champions of small business to talk about what are some of the 
solutions, what can we be doing here in Washington, not creating more 
government, not spending more money, but what can we be doing to create 
an environment that is conducive for business development and for our 
small business owners.
  When I think about the greatness of America, we can list so many 
items and characteristics of this great Nation, and one of those would 
have to be small businesses--taking a simple idea in a free market 
system and taking it to the consumer and growing a business.
  And we hear a lot from the administration. They say, businesses are 
too big. Yet, they need to be smaller. For small businesses, you guys 
are going too fast, too far. You need to slow down. When, in fact, it 
should be just the opposite. We should be encouraging small businesses 
to do more, to grow faster, to invest in their employees.
  There is no big business in this Nation that did not first start out 
as a small business. And I would contend that tonight, Mr. Speaker, 
that there are small business owners all across this Nation, here even 
in the eastern time zone, that have yet to have gone home because 
they're still working. They get up each and every day, putting on their 
boots, chasing that dream, that idea that they have, and turning it 
into a business or a concept and chasing that American Dream, to 
realize that American Dream.
  So, to all those small business owners across this great Nation, I 
want to say thank you. I want to say thank you for your hard work, for 
pushing against the burdens that come from the Federal Government, the 
high gas prices, the regulatory environment, this crazy Tax Code that 
we have, and say don't give up. We are here with you tonight, and we're 
going to be speaking on your behalf tonight.
  I have been joined by some Members from all across this country who 
are going to talk about small business and concepts that we can be 
promoting here in Washington to help the small business owner to 
promote an environment in which small businesses can flourish, not 
creating more government.

                              {time}  1720

  Before I do that, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to read a letter. I think 
it's important to share correspondence from our constituents. This 
comes from Mark, who is in Cumming, Georgia. He says:

       Congressman Graves, I just wanted to let you know that I am 
     a business owner in Cumming, and I'm tired of all my hard 
     work going to pay taxes which the Federal Government 
     squanders--Federal income tax, State income tax, property 
     tax, sales tax. We are all taxed to death, and apparently, 
     the tax system we have in place now is not working or we 
     wouldn't be so far in debt. So I am strongly in favor of 
     passing the Fair Tax. I believe this system is not only much 
     more equitable, but it eliminates loopholes. It is a much 
     simpler and fairer way to raise revenue. That won't solve the 
     mismanagement of our taxes by government, but at least it 
     will allow us to keep more of the money that we earn. Please 
     vote for it. Thank you.

  Mark, I'm happy to tell you, not only will I vote for it, but I'm a 
cosponsor of it.
  Next up to speak on the Fair Tax is the sponsor of the Fair Tax 
himself, and that's Congressman Woodall from the great State of 
Georgia.
  Congressman Woodall, share with us a little bit about the Fair Tax, 
about how it impacts small businesses and how it would help them.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Graves, I appreciate you taking this time tonight.
  Folks ask me, What goes on in the evenings there on Capitol Hill? 
When you finish the votes for the day, what goes on next?
  I say, Well, folks are all back in their offices, working, just like 
small business folks across the country. Just because the customers 
leave doesn't mean the doors close.
  Folks are still working, and this is that time when we get to come 
down and really fully debate some of these ideas that folks have been 
watching all day today. We've been talking about transportation policy. 
We've been talking about Mark Twain a little bit. We've been talking 
about the rules, the process; but we haven't gotten to talk about small 
businesses.
  When we talk about economic growth in this country--you're from the 
great State of Georgia, as I am, and we've got some fantastic big 
companies there. UPS is there, doing fantastic things. They're the 
folks dressed in brown. Delta Airlines is there, carrying more 
passengers than anybody else in the country. We've got Coca-Cola there, 
a brand name that's known the world around. There's Home Depot, the Big 
Orange, which everybody understands. But that is not where the jobs 
come from. The jobs come from those small business men and -women who 
risk everything--everything--to believe that by the sweat of their 
brows and the power of their ideas they can make their tomorrows better 
than today.
  That letter that you got from your constituent, Mr. Graves, is 
exactly the kind of letter that I get from folks every single day who 
say, Rob, I don't mind paying the taxes. I understand part of the 
social contract is that the government has to run, but it doesn't have 
to be this painful. We can do it in a better way, in H.R. 25, the Fair 
Tax, of which you are a proud cosponsor, a huge leader on that bill. It 
is the single most popularly cosponsored piece of fundamental tax 
reform legislation in either the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate because 
voters are demanding it one Member of Congress at a time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. I thank you for your leadership on that.
  I see we've been joined here by the chairman of Rules, the gentleman 
from California.
  Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us.
  Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for yielding, and I appreciate his 
yielding.
  The reason I've come to the floor is to share with our colleagues the 
very sad news of the passing of my very close friend Dick Clark, who 
just within the past couple of hours, it has been reported, has passed 
away.

[[Page H1965]]

  When I listen to the topic of your discussion, I am reminded of a 
conversation. I had dinner with him 2 weeks ago, and he was somebody 
who said exactly what my friend from Georgia indicated. He was a proud 
taxpayer. I know people are going to be talking about ``American 
Bandstand.'' This was someone who actually broke the barrier by 
bringing African Americans on to television in the 1950s and the 1960s. 
He is someone who was an amazingly successful businessman. He was a 
small business man, himself, but was a very, very successful one. I 
just want to say that, as I listened to your discussion, I was reminded 
of how he regularly said everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. 
He said that not too long ago to me, and I said I appreciated that 
because he knew he was paying my salary and yours and yours as well.
  But I just want to share with our colleagues what a great loss this 
is for our country. The show that he started initially and became so 
famous for was ``American Bandstand,'' and I think it's a very 
appropriate one because this guy was a very patriotic American. He was 
a believer in the free enterprise system. He was a believer in 
encouraging individual initiative and opportunity on a regular basis, 
and he is someone who provided inspiration to people all the way across 
the spectrum.
  I just wanted to say that, as you guys are here, talking about the 
need for tax fairness and the imperative to ensure that we encourage 
more people like Dick Clark, I think it's important for us to remember 
the wonderful life that this man had. I've got to say just a couple of 
things if I might.
  He was someone who, you'll all recall, on New Year's Eve would 
regularly host up in Times Square; and in 2004, he suffered a massive 
stroke. I have never seen anyone with more determination and fight than 
Dick Clark. A number of people said, Gosh, why did Dick Clark continue 
to go out and be on television?
  Do you know what? I had a conversation with him just before he 
decided to go this past fall to do this program. People across this 
country said to him, The fact that you have suffered this stroke and 
are continuing to fight to get better and continuing to be active is 
something that is an inspiration to us.
  So that kind of fighting spirit is exactly what the small business 
man or -woman has who at this hour is still working and who my friend 
was just talking about; and the imperative to make sure that everyone 
pays their taxes but no more is something that, I think, he should be 
remembered for along with all of the great, great accomplishments that 
he had.
  I just wanted to take this moment to share this with our colleagues 
here in the House.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for sharing that with 
us.
  You're right, you talk about small business owners. They're going to 
work extremely hard. They get up early every day. They work late every 
night. They're going to pay their fair share. They just want to know 
it's being handled properly and that it's being fairly collected.
  Mr. Woodall, I hear criticisms every now and then about the Fair Tax. 
I'm a cosponsor of it. I hear criticisms here and there. They say, 
Well, this will impact one group more than another. How can something 
called the ``Fair Tax'' not be fair to everyone?
  How do you refute that when they come up with the criticisms to the 
Fair Tax? Actually, I guess, when they're criticizing the Fair Tax, 
they're defending the current Tax Code and the 60,000 pages of mess 
that we currently have and the loopholes and the corporate welfare. 
They must be defending that. So how do you respond to the criticisms 
that you hear?
  Mr. WOODALL. That is what is so amazing about small business folks. 
You never have a small business person come to your office and say, 
Rob, what I want is a leg up on everybody else. I want an unfair 
playing field so I can beat all my competition.
  That's not who our small business owners are. Our small business 
owners are people who say, Rob, give me a level playing field, and I 
will out-compete anybody in any nation around the globe because nobody 
works harder and has more powerful ideas than does the American worker. 
Well, that's what the Fair Tax is all about. It says, let's create a 
level playing field.
  My friend is not a freshman as I am. He got here 6 months earlier in 
a special election that he had to work incredibly hard for; but those 
of us who are newer to this institution, as you and I are, know there 
are some folks here who like using the Tax Code to pick winners and 
losers. I mean, it's an easy thing to do. I look around this body. I 
can find some examples. I see fluorescent lights here in the Chamber. I 
could put a huge tax on fluorescent lights so we would never have any 
more fluorescent lights. I could put a huge tax on plaid shirts so we 
never have any more plaid shirts. That is what happens with the Tax 
Code.
  The Fair Tax says no. It says we're going to have a single tax rate 
on everything the consumer buys. You're going to be taxed on everything 
once--but only once--because those small business men and women who 
write those letters to your office and to mine say, Rob, I spend more 
time trying to figure out tax decisions than I do figuring out business 
decisions. So, when these are the men and women who employ so many of 
our friends and neighbors, when these are the men and women who create 
the job growth in this country, we have to have them focus on business 
decisions, not on tax decisions; and the Fair Tax does that.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you. I hope you'll stick around. In a 
minute, I'm going to yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Just to make clear, I mean, the Fair Tax is not an additional tax; 
it's not something that is added on, a layer. It's actually eliminating 
income tax, eliminating corporate income tax, eliminating capital gains 
tax, dividend tax, death tax. It's eliminating all of that. It's 
throwing it all out. I guess it's eliminating the Internal Revenue 
Service for some part and in a great way, and I think there would be a 
lot of Americans across the country applauding on that day if that were 
to ever occur.

                              {time}  1730

  Also with us tonight is the chairman of the Republican Study 
Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan from Ohio, a great leader on 
conservative principles, a great mind when it comes to policy, and I 
know a great advocate for tax reform. Regardless of fair or flat or 
whatever it is, it's about empowering the taxpayer and not empowering 
the government.
  Mr. JORDAN. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him more 
importantly for his leadership here in the Congress.
  You said it right. You said it well. Whether you're for a fair tax or 
for a flat tax, one thing is certain: The American people have had it 
with the current Tax Code.
  Think about it. Any Tax Code that allows 47 percent of the citizens 
not to pay, 47 percent of all the people that live in this country not 
to pay the main tax, the income tax that we have, you can't repair it; 
you can't fix it; it's completely broken, and you've got to throw it 
away and start over. Any Tax Code that now requires our companies 
headquartered in the United States of America to pay the highest 
corporate tax rate in the world is broken.
  This is one thing that is amazing to me. We are talking about small 
business and we are talking about tax policy. What's amazing to me is, 
in spite of stupid policies from the Federal Government, how well our 
small business owners do. It's a testimony to what Mr. Woodall was 
talking about, the work ethic and the entrepreneurship of the American 
people and the American small business owner that, in spite of bad 
policies, they're still succeeding.
  Imagine if we had a tax policy that actually made sense. Imagine if 
we had a regulatory environment that made sense. Imagine if we had an 
energy policy that made some sense and used the resources the good Lord 
has blessed us with in this country. Imagine if we had monetary and 
fiscal policy that made sense. We wouldn't be having 1.5 percent, 2 
percent growth. We'd be having 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent growth 
in this economy. As you said, Mr. Chair, we would be creating an 
environment that is conducive to economic growth.
  If we actually did that, get out of the way and let the American 
entrepreneur, let the American family, let

[[Page H1966]]

the American small business owner do what they've been doing for 200-
plus years, they would be making good things happen: growing our 
economy, creating jobs, helping our communities, and making us the 
greatest Nation in the world. That's what's at stake here, and it does 
start with the policies that we have here at the Federal Government.
  So we need to change this Tax Code, change the regulatory 
environment, and certainly change our energy policy and start getting 
spending under control. If we have a chance, we'll talk about that here 
in just a few minutes, but I know we've got another speaker who we want 
to get to.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you, Chairman Jordan.
  You're absolutely right about small business owners. They don't want 
equal outcomes; they just want equal opportunity. That's what it's all 
about. That is the American Dream. That's American exceptionalism. Just 
give me a chance and I will beat the next guy, the next Nation. We are 
more competitive. And when we have that more competitive advantage and 
it's a level playing field, we will win every time. That is the spirit 
of the small business owner.
  Speaking of spirit and small business owner, we have joining us also 
tonight, Jeff Landry from Louisiana. I thank you for joining us, and I 
look forward to hearing your insight.
  Mr. LANDRY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, this week marks another tax day, culminating another 
year that Americans have been subjected to an outdated and 
overcomplicated Tax Code.
  Three years ago on tax day, I attended the first Tea Party rally in 
my hometown of New Iberia. I was fed up with an overreaching government 
and fed up with an overburdensome Tax Code.
  As a small business owner in the oil and gas industry, I've created 
jobs; I have made payroll; I have paid insurance; I have balanced 
budgets. I did these things like the majority of small businesses out 
there across America did, with hard work, determination, and, of 
course, a fantastic accountant to sift through the 3,837,105 words of 
the United States Tax Code.
  Mr. Speaker, it's no secret that small businesses are the real 
drivers of our economy. To date, small businesses employ half of the 
U.S. workers. And despite our lagging recovery, they have managed to 
generate nearly 65 percent of all of the new jobs created over the past 
15 years, often outperforming their larger counterparts.
  I often speak with small business owners in my district. The one word 
I hear again and again from them is ``uncertainty.'' From looming 
health care mandates to volatile energy prices, American small 
businesses simply don't know what to expect. To the farmer out there 
who is watching his energy prices and his fertilizer prices increase, 
to the small business owner trying to determine if hiring that new 
talent is the responsible thing to do, to building a new factory, the 
uncertainty in the current environment is what is keeping them from 
expanding and what is keeping them from creating jobs.
  The oil and gas industry is a classic example. And I'm not talking 
about Big Oil. I'm talking about the nearly 18,000 independent oil and 
gas producers here in this country who are small business owners. These 
small business owners develop 95 percent of all oil and gas wells, 
produce 68 percent of America's oil, produce 82 percent of America's 
gas. In total, America's onshore independent oil and gas small 
businesses supported 2.1 million direct jobs here in the United States 
in 2010.
  In my State alone, over 47,000 people are employed directly by the 
oil and gas sector. When you add in other aspects of the oil and gas 
industry--refining, transportation, pipeline--there are over 111,000 
people in the State of Louisiana directly employed by the oil and gas 
industry.
  And just like every other small business, these businesses, the ones 
that literally fuel America, are faced with a crushing tax burden that 
threatens their very survival. And they hear from our President who is 
threatening to take away parts of the Tax Code that helps them.
  I'm not talking about Big Oil subsidies. I'm not talking about 
lowering the corporate tax rate either. Believe it or not, most of our 
domestic energy producers don't pay that corporate tax rate. They don't 
get a subsidy. They don't get a direct check from the government. They 
simply are taking advantage of the same credits out there that other 
small businesses around this country partake in.
  Logically, as most small businesses deduct their expenses, these 
small businesses deduct theirs as well. These independent producers, 
like other small businesses, like I said, do not receive a direct check 
from the government. Instead, it's a cost of doing business.
  Without the ability to expense these ordinary and necessary business 
costs, an independent producer would have to reduce its drilling budget 
by 20 percent to 35 percent almost immediately and bring a drastic 
decrease of energy production here in this country.
  Without this reinvestment, U.S. production would decline rapidly 
because wells deplete as they are produced. America cannot afford a 
decrease in energy production, and small oil and gas businesses cannot 
afford a tax hike.
  Tax hikes would also hurt American retirees whose mutual funds, 
pension plans, IRAs are invested in these publicly traded oil and gas 
companies, all the while harming American energy.
  With so much uncertainty being created here in Washington, the threat 
of billions of dollars in new job-crushing tax hikes, a Federal 
takeover of hydraulic fracturing, regulations, less access to taxpayer-
owned energy resources of our Federal lands, the permitting process 
still lagging, the cost of doing business continues to be challenging.
  Mr. Speaker, Washington can do better. We can do better. We owe it to 
our small business owners in every industry to provide for a basic 
sense of consistency and certainty in our Tax Code.
  Tomorrow the House will consider the Small Business Tax Cut Act, 
legislation that would allow small businesses to deduct 20 percent of 
their active income in order to retain more capital and create more 
jobs.
  I congratulate our majority leader for bringing this bill to the 
floor. I'm confident that with a strong step in the right direction, we 
will continue to work to make sure that our small businesses have the 
certainty they need to grow and to thrive.
  I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. I thank the gentleman from Louisiana for 
sharing his insight tonight, and you're absolutely right. You brought 
us some great points about small business owners. They do all the 
things they do that the government never does: They get up every day 
early; they work hard and long; they know how to balance budgets; they 
pay paychecks; they pay their taxes. They have to every day be held 
accountable by the consumer with their goods.

                              {time}  1740

  Is it meeting the demands of the consumer? Is the customer service 
there? Every day they're held accountable, and every day they get up 
with that desire and that drive to produce a better product, a better 
good and provide a better service. What a great tribute to the small 
business owners across America.
  With that, I'd like to shift over to Mr. Hanna from New York, who is 
going to share with us about small businesses in his region. I want to 
thank you for joining us and appreciate your leadership on this issue.
  Mr. HANNA. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They 
are the catalyst for job growth and job creation all across our Nation. 
They certainly are in upstate New York where I started my own small 
business some 30 years ago, which I ran successfully for that same 
period of time, employing hundreds of people from my community, friends 
and neighbors to this day.
  Unemployment is still too high. It's over 8 percent in my home of New 
York. Our constituents want to go back to work. They just need the 
opportunity. That's what I heard from small business owners when I 
hosted a meeting of the Central New York Business Network earlier this 
month.
  Government can help by advancing policies that enable our 27 million 
small businesses to do what they do

[[Page H1967]]

best--compete and create jobs. There is no silver bullet, but there are 
solutions that we can work together on starting today. Here are a few:
  Tax relief. Small businesses in America pay some of the highest taxes 
in the world, and the associated regulations are also an enormous 
barrier to growth. The average tax compliance cost for employees for 
small businesses is three times what it is for large businesses. We 
need to make taxes lower, fairer, more predictable and generally more 
understandable. We will be voting on a bill of this nature sometime 
this week.
  Freedom from government competition. Too many of our small businesses 
find themselves pitted against their own government when it comes to 
doing commercial work like landscaping, construction, and engineering. 
We should require Federal agencies to use the private sector when 
providing goods and services that are available in the open 
marketplace. This gives small businesses in our community a chance to 
work efficiently and create jobs, and this has been shown to save 
taxpayers money.
  Finally, and most importantly, a jobs-based education policy. A major 
root cause of our long-term unemployment is the changing nature of the 
global marketplace. We are competing against developing countries like 
never before. Competition isn't bad, but we need to be better prepared. 
In order to maintain a high standard of living, we need cultivate the 
value-added, knowledge-based innovative sector of our economy. This can 
only be achieved through education and a new focus on the fields of 
science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM. STEM 
jobs, on the average, pay 27 percent more than non-STEM jobs. The only 
effective long-term way to rebuild the middle class is through 
education. It's been this way since the dawn of time with better-
paying, tax-generating jobs that provide at least those basics of the 
American Dream: a home, a college education for your children, and a 
dignified retirement.

  Mr. Speaker, there are few tasks more important than helping small 
businesses put our neighbors and friends back to work in America. Let's 
join to work on pro-growth policies that will enable them to do just 
that.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. I thank the gentleman from New York.
  I appreciate your plea there. Let's get government out of the way. 
Let's let small business owners do what they do best, and that is dream 
big and work hard.
  Next to share with us is Mr. Bartlett from Maryland. Thank you.
  Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much for yielding.
  I would like to spend just a couple of minutes putting this 
discussion in context.
  I'm from Maryland. I have been there 51 years now, and for 12 years 
my wife and I ran a small business, meeting a payroll every Wednesday 
morning. That's pretty good discipline. I wanted to give you some 
statistics from Maryland.
  Now, we're an average, a little smaller than average State. We have 
only eight Representatives in the Congress. We have something over 5 
million people. In our little State, we have 106,441 small businesses. 
That is a lot of individual businesses. They have between one and 500 
employees, and they totally employ 1,105,200 individuals. Now, this is 
in a little State like Maryland.
  It's interesting to see who employs these people. The top three 
industries by employment:
  Over 157,000 in health care and social assistance. This is one of the 
most rapidly growing segments of our society, which we have to kind of 
calm down or we won't be able to afford it;
  There are over 135,000 employees in professional, scientific, and 
technical services. And Maryland is probably either number two or 
number three in biotech in the whole country, so we're proud of that;
  We have 133,000 employees in construction. That's down. We used to 
have more than that, of course, and we hope we can have more in the 
future.
  According to the Census Bureau, of the small businesses in Maryland, 
15,717 are women-owned, and they employ 147,751 employees.
  I would just like to note that, before the recent increase in 
employment in Hispanic small businesses, that women-owned small 
business are the fastest growing small businesses in our country. They 
are better employers than men. Men and women are different. Our 
military has a little trouble figuring that out sometimes, but they are 
different. They are ranked to be better employers by their employees, 
so let's give a way to women who are entering the small business 
community.
  In addition to this, to these small businesses, in 2009, Maryland was 
home to 365,492 sole proprietorships. These are small businesses with 
one person in them, sole proprietorships.
  Many of these self-employed small businesses also benefit from the 20 
percent small business tax cut in H.R. 9, which is one of the things we 
are focusing on this evening, because I understand that we're voting on 
that tomorrow.
  A couple of interesting statistics:
  Between '05 and '08, small business created a net total of 63,576 new 
jobs in Maryland, but in just '08 and '09, we've lost 57,433. So we 
just are barely up in small business now because of how many of those 
small businesses we lost.
  One of the previous speakers mentioned the Tax Code and how we need 
to make it simpler and fairer. Let's just talk about the Fair Tax for 
just a moment.
  If we went to the Fair Tax--that's a tax on consumption--then let's 
repeal the 16th Amendment. Don't give the government any chance to ever 
come back with a personal income tax again. If we did that, we could 
have a bigger tax revenue with no increase in tax burden, because the 
tax burden today is not just the tax as you pay, but the $200 billion 
that it costs businesses and individuals across their country every 
year to comply with the code.
  I don't know anybody out there who wouldn't be happy to roll that 
compliance cost into the tax burden so that now the revenues will go up 
with no increase in tax burden. That's one of the things that we need 
to do to balance the budget. If we just went to the Fair Tax with no 
increase in tax burden, we'd have $200 billion a year more money 
flowing into the U.S. Treasury and small business would be a big part 
of this.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you. I appreciate your words there.
  As I wrap up this segment that we have here this evening, I just want 
to say thank you to the small business owners across America. You have 
heard great reports from Members of Congress who are with you, who are 
fighting with you and fighting for you. We just want to thank you, 
because every day you're getting up and you're going against some of 
the greatest pressures and the greatest burdens that a government could 
ever place on you, but you don't give up.
  You get up each day. You put the boots on. You go out and you work 
hard. You take that dream, that idea, that concept, and you build it 
into reality, and you are building jobs and you are providing for other 
families. We want to thank you for that.
  While the optimism index is getting lower, the misery index is 
getting higher. I'm here to tell you Americans have not given up. Small 
business owners have not given up. In fact, statistics show that if 
just one out of two businesses across this Nation hire one person in 
the next 12 months, unemployment would be near zero. That's how close 
we are, because small business owners haven't given up. I want to thank 
you for that. I want to applaud you for that. Keep up the great fight.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                          ____________________