Air Date

June 15, 2022

Featured Guests

Dean Phillips
U.S. Representative, U.S. House of Representatives

Young Kim
U.S. Representative, U.S. House of Representatives


Thomas M. Sullivan
Vice President, Small Business Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


The United States is currently facing many challenges taking a toll on small businesses. Inflation, supply chain delays, and worker shortages are all impacting entrepreneurs’ ability to thrive in the current economy.

If the nation hopes to amend these issues, Congress must work together to find bipartisan solutions. U.S. Representatives Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Young Kim (R-CA) joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a “Common Grounds” conversation about how Democratic and Republican leaders can support small businesses during this time.

Inflation Is the Highest Concern for Small Businesses

Moderator Tom Sullivan, Vice President for Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, began the bipartisan conversation talking about rising inflation rates by citing that two out of three businesses have had to raise their prices to keep up with rising costs.

Congresswoman Kim admitted that while there is no “silver bullet” to fixing inflation instantly, one way to begin is by addressing supply chain issues. She and Congressman Phillips sent a letter to congressional leadership seeking the establishment of a select committee on the supply chain crisis to come up with a comprehensive strategy.

Congressman Phillips called the rising rates “unacceptable” and discussed how Congress should approach the issue in a bipartisan way.

“I would argue in Congress, it's not so much what we can do to tame inflation, it's what we shouldn't do,” said Congressman Phillips.

“Inflation is an international challenge right now…,” said Congressman Phillips. ”The disruption [of supply chains] has severely complicated matters … [and during] COVID a lot of people saved a lot of money, demand skyrocketed, and supplies went down. It's going to be at some time until that rectifies itself.”

“I think the fed is taking appropriate steps,” he continued. ”It will not be easy or painless but it will be the lesser of many evils as we try to keep inflation under control.”

Federal Regulations Can Be a Burden for Small Businesses

Members from both sides of the aisle agree that government needs to get out of the way of business owners and make sure that job creators do what they know best — running their own companies.

Congresswoman Kim stated that while there are times government intervention is needed with a pro-business growth mindset, she believes that, in general, the government should be hands-off to allow businesses and the market to settle themselves.

“There are ways the federal government can be a great resource for a small business,” said Congresswoman Kim. “However, we also need to think very, very seriously about how federal regulations are burdening small business.”

“For example, [The U.S. Chamber’s Small Business Committee] stated that federal agencies collectively finalized over 200 billion in net regulatory cost in 2021,” she continued. “That's a huge cost to the economy and small businesses. Many of those regulations disproportionally impact small businesses because it increases the cost of complying.”

Congress Needs to Put Aside Its Differences to Assist Small Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic forced both political parties to work together and act quickly to pass relief. At the beginning of the pandemic, Congress passed three laws in three weeks to help small businesses and citizens. They then passed seven laws in 12 months designed specifically to help small businesses with bipartisan support.

Congressman Phillips says the key to working together is akin to a kindergarten lesson.

“You’ve got to get to know each other and treat each other [with] respect,” said Congressman Phillips. “You can't work with people you don't trust. Unfortunately, I would argue that [congressional] leadership on both sides of the aisle doesn't do enough to inspire cooperation and friendship and trust.”

From the Series

Common Grounds