Sen. Ronald Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, supports this year’s tax extender bill but says he will not approve another like it in the years ahead. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

A review of the biggest small business and startup stories from the past week, with a special focus on Washington.

Congress examines Bitcoin for business: A House panel last week examined the potential benefits and inherent risks for small merchants thinking about accepting the up-and-coming virtual currency Bitcoin, which is now being used by more than 50,000 companies across the country. (WP)

SBA expands access to loan programs: The Small Business Administration last week proposed a rule that would relax some of the restrictions on its primary government-backed loan offerings, known as the 7(a) and 504 programs. (CUT)

Congress looks to angels: Hoping to accelerate the economic recovery, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working on legislation intended to encourage angel investors to pour even more capital into new and growing businesses. (WP)

Senate advances tax extenders: The Senate Finance Committee last week moved forward on a bill that would renew a number of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year, including a credit for firms conducting research and development. (BB)

Small firms not pulling their normal weight: Private companies added an impressive 191,000 jobs last month, according to ADP. However, small businesses’ share of net new jobs fell to its lowest point since the government shutdown. (WP)

Fed staying the course: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week that she thinks the job market will continue to need the help of low interest rates “for some time,” signalling that the central bank has no plans to raise rates anytime soon. (AP)

Big business, meet new business: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to launch an outpost in the famed Silicon Valley corridor in California as the organization looks to expand its network on the West Coast, particularly among technology leaders. (WSJ)

Mixing consultants and entrepreneurs: Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and start-up incubator 1776 are scaling up their partnership to exchange ideas and talent, with some of Booz’s employees moving into the downtown coworking space. (WP)

Obamacare hits target enrollment: President Obama announced last week that health care enrollment has sailed past the initial target of 7 million signups, declaring that the health care law “is doing what’s it’s supposed to do.” (WP)

A spur-of-the-moment investment: America Online co-founder Steve Case stunned onlookers last week when he committed to invest $100,000 in each of ten start-ups that flew in from around the country to pitch at Google’s headquarters in California. (WP)

Meet Washington’s up-and-coming innovators: Four local companies were crowned winners last week at in the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Destination Innovation competition, including one that uses Google Glass for workouts. (WP)

Austin still tops for small business: For the fifth year in a row, Austin has landed atop the list of the best cities to launch and grow a small business, compiled by the research division at American City Business Journals. (BBJ)

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

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