A look back at some of the biggest small business and start-up stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.

The real test begins for online sales tax bill: The Senate last week approved a measure that would allow states to collect online sales tax, which would help level the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores, but it could make tax compliance exceptionally complicated for online sellers. The legislation now faces a tough road in the House, where it has already been met with opposition from many tax-averse Republicans.

It was a busy week in Congress, which wrestled over online sales tax, the debt ceiling and immigration reform. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

SBA shifts funding toward mid-sized firms: Despite being required to trim spending, the Small Business Administration plans to invest $40 million next year in entre­pre­neur­ship education targeting mid-sized firms that have the capacity to grow larger. Meanwhile, the agency wants to trim about $10 million from some of its small business counseling programs.

Big banks warm to small borrowers: The nation’s largest banks approved 16.8 percent of small business loan applications last month, according the latest report from online lending platform Biz2Credit, the highest reading in the index’s two-year history and well above the 10.6 percent posted last April.

GOP launches assault on immigration proposal:During markup of the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal last week, Republicans pitched several controversial amendments to the fragile deal. Many demanded greater border security measures before legalizing any undocumented foreigners, signaling a difficult road ahead for the bill.

Obama announces open-data policy: President Obama last week issued an executive order intended to make more federal data available to entrepreneurs and researchers, part of an effort to kickstart the economy by giving innovators access to valuable government data.

SBA eliminates set-aside caps for women contractors:The SBA has formally adopted an amendment to its federal contracting program for women-owned firms, removing the cap on the size of the contracts eligible for the set-asides. The move comes a week after the agency launched a new program to help women-owned contractors.

Controversy over minimum wage hike: The Small Business Majority has released a new poll suggestion small business owners across the country favor lifting the minimum wage. However, critics note that most of the survey’s respondents reported paying wages above the minimum; thus, their firms would not be directly affected.

House approves debt-debacle back-up plan: The House last week approved a measure that Republicans say would shield the nation from serious harm if lawmakers fail to reach a debt deal before the nation defaults on its loans. Democrats are sure to kill the bill in the Senate, some calling the legislation the “Pay China First” bill.

OSB entrepreneurs of the week: Mompreneurs: These women perform life’s ultimate balancing act — building a business while raising a family. Several of them shared with us their secrets to success.

What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.