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

Obamacare suffers another delay: The Obama administration quietly postponed a provision of the law that limits out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and co-payments, for individuals and families, giving critics even more ammunition to attack the legislation.

White House officials say the health reform law will give small businesses a boost. Many employers have offered a different take on its impact. (bigstockphoto/BIGSTOCKPHOTO)

White House says law is still good for small firms: Days later, the White House outlined five ways the health care reform law “provides benefits and opportunities to small businesses.” Some small employers have a very different take on its impact, though.

IRS probing small businesses:The Internal Revenue Service has started sending letters to thousands of small employers questioning whether they underreported their income last year, sparking criticism from lawmakers who believe the agency is bullying small firms.

DOE repeatedly shorts small contractors:During each of the past two years, the department has fallen short of goals that were already set lower than those of any other agency — here’s why.

Small business loan demand sinks:Small business lending demand decreased 14 percent last month, and a new report from the Cleveland Federal Reserve shows borrowing levels have hardly begun to recover.

Exporting programs lack oversight:A committee charged with managing all federal exporting programs lacks oversight, and some fear that is making it difficult for small firms to access public resources.

Small business optimism surges: The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index jumped from 93.5 to 94.1 in July, its second highest reading in the past year.

Jobless claims hit six-year low: The number of people seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 15,000 last week to 320,000, the fewest since October 2007, an uplifitng sign for the economy.

Student loans stifling entrepreneurship: Some experts say student loans are among the greatest deterrents for gradautes who might otherwise launch new firms, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Small firms value experience over education: Seventy percent of small business owners have a bachelor’s degree, a new poll shows, and of those, only 60 percent said education was important to their success.

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

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