We know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. All across this country, small businesses create jobs and unite communities. They encourage creativity and spur innovation. During these difficult times, I’m proud to have helped advance initiatives to help small businessmen and women succeed.
For all these reasons, I am dismayed by Republican efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to force legislation that would make it more difficult for entrepreneurs to do business, create jobs, and provide for their employees.
In their fervor to push legislation curbing protections for women’s health, including a woman’s right to choose, the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act” (H.R. 3) would limit business owner options and raise taxes on small businesses that provide health care coverage to their employees.
A section of the Health Care Reform bill included the “Small Business Health Care Tax Credit” that helps small businesses provide comprehensive health care for their employees. However, under H.R. 3, if an employer’s heath care plan covers any abortion-related service, (a medical procedure common in health care plans) then the employer is ineligible to receive the tax credit – effectively raising their taxes.
This Republican legislation penalizes small businesses even if the health care plan is private, and even if the services are never used. And the legislation prevents health insurance plans from covering abortion procedures necessary to protect the health of the mother.
H.R. 3 forces small business owners to make a difficult decision. They can retain their current plans offering their employees more flexible health insurance that covers services supporting a woman’s right to choose, and be denied this critically important tax credit. Or they can spend countless hours navigating through competing health care proposals to determine which options do not cover services supporting a woman’s right to choose, only to pay higher premiums given the current market. Neither option makes sense.
Our country faces so many real challenges worthy of Congress’ constructive attention. It is misguided to pursue an ideological agenda that fails to address our economic challenges and meet the needs of our small businesses and workers. Those who support H.R. 3 and its attempt to limit a woman’s right to choose and women’s health protections need to know that they are also hurting small businesses – the kind of choice none of us can afford.
This bill goes too far. President Obama has said that he will veto H.R. 3; but let us hope that our leaders in the U.S. Senate defeat it first.