Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

Small business committees in both chambers will be busy on Wednesday. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Franchise lending lags demand: New loans to franchises will total $9.5 billion this year, falling well short of the $11.72 billion those franchise owners will seek in 2012, according to new data released by the International Franchise Association. That will cost the economy an estimated 94,000 jobs and $12.9 billion.

Housing starts drop unexpectedly: Housing starts dropped 5.8 percent to a 654,000 annual rate, less than the lowest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the least since October, according to the Commerce Department. The slump was led by the volatile multi-family category, which at the same time showed a jump in permits, a proxy for future construction.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Congressional committees talking entre­pre­neur­ship, tax changes: The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold a roundtable on Wednesday to discuss ways to improve the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Later in the afternoon, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing to address looming tax changes and the way they could affect small businesses.

Obama calling for more oil market scrutiny: On Tuesdsay, President Obama proposed measures to step up oversight of energy markets and boost by tenfold the penalties for market manipulation, in an effort to blunt political pressure over the 20 percent increase in gasoline prices since the beginning of the year.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to make Pinterest work for your business (OSB)

How to drive traffic to your site (Fox Small Business)

How to go green on a limited budget (Open Forum)

How to choose a business incubator (Small Biz Trends)