Chair: Nydia Velázquez
Projected Grade for the 117th Congress
1 Investigative Oversight Hearings
5 Policy/Legislative Hearings
27 Total HearingsLast updated: Sept. 14, 2021, 9:20 p.m.
Although the committee has a strong following among America’s small entrepreneurs, its jurisdiction is narrow, officially, “Assistance to and protection of small business, including financial aid, regulatory flexibility, and paperwork reduction. (2) Participation of small-business enterprises in Federal procurement and Government contracts……The Committee on Small Business shall study and investigate on a continuing basis the problems of all types of small business.” One of its chief functions is to ride herd over the Small Business Administration, whose loan program to small businesses has periodically come under criticism. The independent agency has survived several attempts over the years to eliminate it. The committee has five subcommittees: contracting and infrastructure; economic growth, tax and capital access; innovation and workforce development; investigations, oversight and regulations; and rural development, agriculture, trade and entrepreneurship.
The committee’s limited jurisdiction and relatively small membership have resulted in a lighter hearing schedule than many permanent House committees. During the 12-year period it held an average of about 76 hearings each Congress, with relatively few investigative oversight hearings. That quiet oversight pace was broken, however, in the 114th Congress (2015-16) under Chair Steve Chabot, a conservative Ohio Republican, who launched 12 oversight hearings, more than twice as many as in any other Congress. Most of them were critical of the Obama administration. In Rep. Chabot’s second term as chair in the 115th Congress (2017-18) investigative activity returned to a more normal level.
Under new chair Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) in the 116th Congress (2019-2020), the committee maintained its traditional overall hearing pace despite the pandemic-shortened schedule, even managing to hold a record number of total hearings. However, it held only a single investigative oversight hearing: an October 2019 look into eight management and performance problems at the SBA uncovered by the agency’s Inspector General in his annual report, the same eight he’d found the year before.
111th Congress: Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
112th Congress: Sam Graves (R-MO)
113th Congress: Sam Graves (R-MO)
114th Congress: Steve Chabot (R-OH)
115th Congress: Steve Chabot (R-OH)
116th Congress: Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
117th Congress: Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
We are 39% of the way through the 117th Congress
House Committee on Small Business1 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 9% historical maximum
Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]