Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, last week announced an expansion of the agency’s entre­pre­neur­ship training program for military veterans. (Luis Galdamez/EPA)

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

Under siege: Critics of the health care law, including many business owners, have long bemoaned a provision that requires employers to provide health coverage to their full-time workers. Now, some of the law’s supporters are starting to call for the rule’s elimination, too, warning that it will push employers to pull back on hours. (OSB)

More delays for many: The Obama administration last week approved 18 states’ requests to delay for a second year an important feature of the health law’s new insurance exchanges for small business. The feature was supposed to allow employers to give their workers a choice of multiple plans through the online marketplaces. (POL)

Suddenly small: The Small Business Administration last week announced that it would adjust its small-business size-standards for inflation, lifting the cap on either receipts or assets for 487 industries. Consequently, roughly 8,400 previously large companies can now apply for resources restricted to small businesses. (WBJ)

Supporting more soliders: The SBA also announced plans to expand its post-military entrepreneurship training program, known as Boots to Business, opening up the course to any interested veteran, not just returning troops. The rollout will start with classes in a dozen cities around the country, starting in Washington, D.C. on July 11.

Catching a break: The House last week easily approved legislation that would make permanent a tax break allowing small businesses to write off up to a half million dollars in equipment purchases. However, the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Democrats have pushed back against tackling tax reform one small piece at a time.

Upbeat on Main Street: Optimism among small business owners jumped last month to the highest level since 2007, according to the latest report by the National Federation of Independent Business. It marks the third straight month of improvement, a sign that small employers may accelerate hiring and investments in the second half of the year. (FOX)

Home sweet home: Small business owners in Idaho, Texas, Utah and Virginia give their states the highest ratings in overall friendliness to small businesses, according to a new study released by Thumbtack and the Kauffman Foundation. Meanwhile, owners were far less pleased in California, Illinois and Rhode Island. (BW)

Award winner: Sanderson Stewart, a community development services company in Montana, last week was named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s small business of the year. The company provides engineering and construction management services and focuses on recruiting what executives call CSTP — cool, smart, talented people. (KTVQ)

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

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