Panel chairman aims to spotlight Obama oversteps

“One thing we know is that small business will be the leaders of a strong recovery,” Graves said in opening remarks. “Yet time and time again, the policies proposed by the current administration fail to take into account this important segment of the economy.”

He and other GOP lawmakers solicited testimony from business owners and industry representatives about burdensome regulations and other government obstacles they say are hurting their bottom lines.  The witnesses complained about a glut of regulations sparked by legislation passed during Obama’s first term, saying they were adding to the cost of doing business.

“Our business model has continued to erode,” said Sean Falk, who owns 12 franchise business units. “It’s getting worse.”

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, argued that there are signs of economic recovery under Obama’s policies.

But Graves disputed the notion. Pointing to Obama’s remarks Tuesday night, Graves predicted an uptick in burdensome government interference in Obama’s second term.

“It sounded like he’s going to step it up,” Graves said after the hearing. “I guarantee he’s going to overstep his bounds.”

Graves said monitoring the flow of new regulations would be among the panel’s top priorities under his leadership. To that end, he has launched an online tool to track new regulations. “Small Biz Reg Watch” is designed to keep businesses that can’t afford to hire a lobbyist to keep up with and comment on proposed rules. 

This story was updated at 6:57 p.m. to correct Graves' home state.