A look back at some of the biggest small business and start-up stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.
GSA suffers rough week: The U.S. General Services Administration confirmed reports last week that it has failed to fully pay thousands of federal contractors over the past five years, overlooking a “guaranteed minimum payments” clause in many of its contracts. The agency also
came under fire for violating contract acquisition rules and providing excessive benefits to its top-level executives.
Gang of Eight defends its deal: Walking a political tightrope, senators behind the immigration bill last week managed to protect their fragile compromise from amendments to expand or restrict the H-1B program beyond what was proposed in the bill.
Immigration reform campaign loses strength: Disputes over the Keystone XL oil pipeline have prompted several members of Mark Zuckerberg’s new politican action committee to leave the organization, weakening a once-united lobbying front from technology leaders in Silicon Valley.
Lawmakers say pipeline would benefit small firms: House Republicans hosted a hearing late last week highlighting some of the ways the contruction of the Keystone XL pipeline could churn up new business for small businesses.
Crowdfunding proves elusive for school fundraising: A local middle school’s struggles using the new online funding portals shows that crowdfunding is not a cure-all for traditional funding shortages, particularly when it comes to social ventures.
Obama appoints new IRS chief:In the wake of revelations that the agency targeted conservative groups, President Obama on Wednesday forced out acting commissioner Steven Miller and appointed senior budget adviser Daniel Werfel to fill the top position at the IRS.
Health insurance tax likely to hit small firms: Many small-business owners worry that the structure of a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will drive up their premiums next year, according to complaints voiced at a congressional hearing.
Slow going for online sales tax bill:The Senate has approved a measure that would allow states to collect online sales tax, but the legislation faces a tough road in the House, where it has already been met with opposition from many tax-averse Republicans.
Concerns raised over small business group’s funding: The National Federation of Independent Business has reportedly received an $850,000 donation from the nation’s leading health insurance lobbying group to help finance its fight against new rules in the health care law.
Google Glass sparks privacy concerns in Congress: Members of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus have sent a letter to Google seeking answers to a series of questions about the company’s new high-tech, camera-equipped glasses.
Business leaders call on firms to hire minority executives:A group of minority business leaders is calling for the nation’s employers to take steps to close the employment gap between white workers and black and Hispanic workers, especially when filling their top jobs.
OSB start-up of the week: Jelly: Biz Stone, the mind behind Twitter, has been working on a secret new venture, but that’s all we knew until last week. Now, we who is investing, including big names like Bono, Al Gore, Square’ Jack Dorsey and LivingSocial’s Reid Hoffman.
What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.