According to reports, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is ready to work for administration proposals on health care, taxes and medical malpractice reform. NFIB President and CEO, Jack Faris, released the following statement in response to President Bush's address.

“Small business stands ready to work for the positive agenda President Bush outlined to the American people last night. For our small-business owners, the president’s proposals for affordable health care, permanent tax relief and sensible legal reform aren’t just good policy, they’re vital to the very survival of small business.

“Small-business owners know firsthand the struggle to provide affordable health care. That’s why NFIB members strongly support health savings accounts and will vigorously support the president’s effort to expand their use. Many small-business owners already utilize these accounts to provide affordable and effective coverage for their employees, who disproportionately fall among the uninsured. The president’s continued support for Small-Business Health Plans, NFIB’s top legislative proposal, will also help remedy the unequal playing field small businesses face in the health-care market. And NFIB will continue to press in Congress for medical malpractice reform.

“The pro–small-business tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 put money back into the hands of small-business owners to hire new employees, and also directly into the economy as owners have purchased new equipment and grown their businesses. That’s why the president’s call to make this tax relief permanent and prevent large tax increases on all taxpayers is so important. NFIB will work hard for this job-creating tax policy, including maintaining the current levels for Section 179 expensing and faster depreciation schedules, keeping the lower personal tax rates, and preventing the death tax from rising from the grave.

“Small business welcomes the president’s proposal for increased energy independence. Small-business owners, like all Americans, pay the price of increased energy costs. These costs directly impact small businesses' efforts to expand and hire new employees, and NFIB members across the nation have had to deal with the negative consequences of our dependence on foreign oil.

“The president’s American Competitiveness Initiative strikes a chord with small business. A well-trained work force of diversified and cutting-edge talents is essential to the continued strength of the American economy. Small-business owners strongly support programs to improve the education system for our children and young people. Efforts to encourage new entrepreneurs and innovation will find no stronger backers than our nation’s Main Street job creators.”