The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry has filed a very strong letter with the FCC in support of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. In general, the merger with Sprint will only continue T-mobile's legacy of creating jobs and spurring economic growth in our region. Read the letter to the FCC at http://ow.ly/6uT930ou0yj
With Linda McMahon set to retire as the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA) on April 12th, all eyes are on President Trump’s nomination for her replacement. He has named Republican Jovita Carranza, current treasurer at the Department of the Treasury to fill the role. What do we know about Carranza? Here is a rundown of what new outlets and the Trump Administration have shared so far:
1. She is not new to the SBA.
Carranza served as the Deputy Administrator for the SBA from 2006 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. Her confirmation was unanimous. Her duties included the oversight of 80+ U.S. field offices and the various business loans, investments, and disaster aid packages available to small businesses through the SBA. (The total portfolio of SBA assets to disperse was almost $80 billion.)
2. She has business experience.
Before her time at the SBA, she was the founder of JCR Group, a supply-chain management business. Her experience in logistics started long before that, however, with her 20-year tenure at the United Parcel Service (UPS.) A White House bio mentions her journey from overnight, part-time worker to the president of Latin America and Caribbean operations. She had been credited as the highest-ranking Latina in UPS history at the time of her promotion.
3. She is a Chicago native with community ties.
Carranza was born in Illinois and grew up with her immigrant family in Chicago before becoming involved with both local and national organizations and charities. Her board roles include the Illinois Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, The American Cancer Society Corporate Advisory Board, National Center for Family Literacy, U.S. Small Business Administration—Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Trustee Chair at the School of Business Council at Alverno College, and the United Way.
4. She has achieved high honors.
Carranza’s confirmation would result in her holding the highest office for a Latina within the Trump administration, but she had clout long before the nomination. Her awards include:
5. She has relevant educational experience.
As an MBA earner from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, her executive and management training includes time at the INSEAD Business School in Paris, Michigan State University, and the University of Chicago.
If confirmed, she will leave a hole in the Treasury Department but will be installed in the SBA in time for their annual National Small Business Week, taking place on May 5 – 11. Activities for the special event include hackathons, awards, Twitter chats, and virtual trainings.
There is no formal word on who would be Carranza’s Treasury replacement at this time.
"The Latino Coalition extends a much deserved congratulations to our friend and longtime supporter Jovita Carranza on her nomination for U.S. Small Business Administrator. Jovita's extensive business background and pro-economic growth leadership make her an excellent choice to advocate and champion the small business community," said Hector Barreto, The Latino Coalition Chairman and former US Small Business Administrator.
Click here to for Jovita's full bio.
On Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Inspector General Daniel Levinson proposed a rule to lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs by encouraging manufacturers to pass discounts directly on to patients and bringing new transparency to prescription drug markets.
“Every day, Americans—particularly our seniors—pay more than they need to for their prescription drugs because of a hidden system of kickbacks to middlemen. President Trump is proposing to end this era of backdoor deals in the drug industry, bring real transparency to drug markets, and deliver savings directly to patients when they walk into the pharmacy,” said Secretary Azar.
“This historic action, combined with other administrative and legislative efforts on prescription drug pricing, is a major departure from a broken status quo that serves special interests and moves toward a new system that puts American patients first. Democrats and Republicans looking to lower prescription drug costs have criticized this opaque system for years, and they could pass our proposal into law immediately.”
“This proposal has the potential to be the most significant change in how Americans’ drugs are priced at the pharmacy counter, ever, and finally ease the burden of the sticker shock that millions of Americans experience every month for the drugs they need.”
The HHS proposal would expressly exclude from safe harbor protection under the Anti-Kickback Statute rebates on prescription drugs paid by manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), Part D plans and Medicaid managed care organizations.
It would create a new safe harbor for prescription drug discounts offered directly to patients, as well as fixed fee service arrangements between drug manufacturers and PBMs. The proposal would also provide a historic new level of transparency to a system that has been shrouded in secrecy for decades.
Under the proposed rule, prescription drug rebates that today amount to, on average, 26 to 30 percent of a drug’s list price may be passed on directly to patients and reflected in what they pay at the pharmacy counter. By encouraging negotiated discounts that are reflected in cost-sharing methods like co-insurance, used for many expensive drugs in Medicare Part D, the proposal is projected to provide the greatest benefits to seniors with high drug costs.
The proposal would also address the most significant incentive drug manufacturers cite in raising their list prices every year, the pressure to provide larger and larger rebates. This rule provides a clear pathway for drug companies instead to compete to have the lower price and out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
This proposal complements efforts in progress laid out in the President’s “American Patients First” blueprint, including requiring the disclosure of list prices in television ads, increasing negotiated discounts in Medicare, banning pharmacy gag clauses, adopting real-time prescription benefit tools, and boosting low-cost generic and biosimilar competition.
Read a fact sheet on the new discount policy here.
Read the rule here.
Washington, DC — The Latino Coalition released the following statement in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ new proposal to overhaul the drug purchasing system.
“We commend Secretary Azar and the Department of Health and Human Services for taking an important step in improving out-of-pocket costs for patients. This new rule will ensure that negotiated discounts and rebates do not disappear into the pockets of middlemen but are instead passed on directly to patients. Hispanic/Latino beneficiaries face many obstacles in accessing care but these changes will help to reduce financial burdens and improve their ability to purchase the prescriptions they need.
Vice President Mike Pence joins Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaidó in Colombia as he leads dozens of Venezuelan families who fled the country in the singing of their national anthem.
By Franco Ordoñez
The Trump administration will bar dozens of Venezuelan leaders from the United States in the latest move by the Trump administration to help remove Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro from power.
Vice President Mike Pence made the announcement in Washington on Wednesday to Latin American leaders at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit on the economy, immigration and Venezuela. Pence said the State Department will revoke 77 visas from prominent Venezuelans, including officials and their families.
“Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power and Nicolás Maduro must go,” Pence said.
The international campaign against Venezuela is at a crossroads, as Maduro has been able to hold onto power amid debilitating oil sanctions from the United States and global campaign against him.
Pence, who has visited the region five times, has largely led the international effort to put pressure on Maduro and has met with Juan Guaidó, the internationally recognized leader of Venezuela.
Pence is among top leaders of the United States, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, the new special envoy to Venezuela, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, who have made the issue a priority.
Rubio said Wednesday that other nations should follow the U.S. lead and also revoke Venezuelan visas.
“The bottom line is that the regime insiders at the highest levels, none of them have their families living full time inside Venezuela,” Rubio said. “Their families live in Spain, their families live in Curacao. Their families often travel to the United States to connect to flights to go to other places, every single one of them. None of them have family living under the conditions they’ve imposed on the people of Venezuela. So now, their relatives will no longer be able to use the U.S. to visit or as a transit point to enjoy the money that their family members have stolen from the people of Venezuela.”
Florida Sen. Rick Scott said the U.S. government should make public any Venezuelans in the U.S. who are benefiting from regime leaders.
”If we have sanctions, I want to understand how they’re getting enforced,” Scott said. “I live in Florida, I personally don’t see the enforcement against people who are part of the Maduro regime. It might all be happening, I’m not suggesting it’s not, but I want to know. They ought to keep putting this stuff out so we know what’s happening.”
The United States was the first nation to recognize Guaidó as the legitimate interim president. Since then, more than 50 nations have also recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader.
The White House has tried to maintain pressure on Maduro, who has been able to maintain the support of the Venezuelan military to resist international efforts to force humanitarian aid into the country. He has accused Guaidó of being the puppet of a U.S.-financed coup.
While losing the support of much of the world, Maduro has kept the support of Russia and China, whose leaders have publicly stood by the Caracas regime and blocked U.N. resolutions against him.
Pence had a warning for those governments that did not join in the global effort.
“We’ve made it clear to leaders around the world,” Pence said. “There can be no bystanders in the struggle for Venezuela’s freedom.”
In Colombia, Pence specifically called out governments in the hemisphere, including Mexico, Uruguay and eastern Caribbean nations for their lack of support.
Pence also pointed at the role Cuba has played in helping Maduro. Pence said the only reason Maduro can still claim power is because of the “brutality of his support and help he receives” from Cuba, whose leaders he said were “aiding and abetting” Maduro.
“Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot. He is a Cuban puppet,’” Pence said quoting President Donald Trump’s Feb. 18 address to the exile community in Miami. “People of Venezuela know Cuba’s leaders are the real imperialist of the Western Hemisphere.”
Alex Daugherty contributed to this report.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Legislative Summit, co-hosted by The Latino Coalition and Job Creators Network, in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019.JOSE LUIS MAGANAAP PHOTO
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Legislative Summit, co-hosted by The Latino Coalition and Job Creators Network, in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press)
By Luis Alonso Lugo | AP March 6 at 3:05 PM
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the U.S. will revoke more visas from prominent Venezuelans as it seeks to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to give up power.
Pence told the Latino Coalition that the U.S. will revoke 77 visas held by officials in the Maduro government or their relatives.
The U.S. revoked 49 visas last week and has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions as part of a campaign to force Maduro to turn over power to opposition leader Juan Guaido.
The U.S. and more than 50 governments recognize Guaido as interim president. They say Maduro wasn’t legitimately re-elected last year because opposition candidates weren’t permitted to run.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton warned Wednesday that financial institutions “will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network.”
Pence referred to the Venezuelan crisis while making the case for the re-election of President Donald Trump in 2020 as a way to counteract policies —which he described as socialist— supported by Democrats.
“All of us need to say with one voice: America will never be a socialist country,” Pence told the conservative Latino business owners gathered in Washington for the Latino Coalition annual event.
Pence said when Democrats support policy proposals such as “Medicare-for-all” and the Green New Deal —an ambitious plan to address global climate change— they “are embracing the same economic theories that have impoverished nations.”
Pence also defended the decision for Trump to declare a national emergency to fund a wall at the southern border.
“Every day we don’t secure our border we are allowing the crisis to worsen and more lives to be in danger,” he said.
Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Washington Post
The vice president, Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen and others cite an increase in illegal border crossings as reason to back the declaration.
Vice President Mike Pence greets the chairman and CEO of the Latino Coalition, Hector V. Barreto, during the Legislative Summit in Washington on Wednesday.Jose Luis Magana / AP
March 6, 2019, 12:12 PM PST
By Dartunorro Clark
Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials are calling on senators to back President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to build his southern border wall, citing an increase in illegal border crossings in recent months.
Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday criticized lawmakers from both parties who plan to support a resolution to block the president's emergency declaration.
"A vote against the president's emergency declaration is a vote against border security," Pence said in a speech at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit in Washington. "A vote against the president's emergency declaration is a vote to deny the real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. And so we call on every member of the United States Senate to set politics aside, stand up for border security, stand with this president and put the safety and security of the American people first."
Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the Senate have vowed to opposed Trump's declaration, with many citing concerns that the move seeks to go around the lawmakers' constitutional spending authority.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., conceded Monday that he believes the chamber will support a resolution to end the national emergency in a vote this month, which would prompt a presidential veto that lawmakers likely would not be able to override.
The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution — which the House passed last week in a 245-182 vote — by March 15, before the Senate’s next recess. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky last weekend became the fourth Senate Republican to say that he planned to vote for the resolution, which would ensure the measure was likely pass the GOP-controlled Senate. Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also plan to support the measure.
Pence and other administration officials, including Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have cited an increase in illegal border crossings as a reason for lawmakers to support the declaration.
At a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Nielsen urged lawmakers to address what she called a “humanitarian catastrophe” at the border. The secretary, who privately briefed the president and lawmakers on border security this week, scolded Democrats for calling Trump's border wall push a "manufactured crisis."
"This is not a manufactured crisis," Nielsen said. "This is truly an emergency."
Trump made the declaration last month after Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill without the $5.7 billion he had demanded for a southern border wall, but with some money for fencing.
In an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also denounced lawmakers, particularly the Senate Republicans, who plan to vote to block Trump's declaration.
"Look, my message to that group is to do your job," Sanders said. "If you had done what you were elected to do on the front end, then the president wouldn't have to fix this problem on his own through a national emergency. The president tried multiple times to get Congress to work with him, to address the crisis, they failed to do so. And now the president has to do what is absolutely necessary and what is right and that is to declare a national emergency and fix the crisis at the border."
The number of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border last month was the highest total for February in 12 years, according to statistics released by Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday.
In 28 days, about 76,000 immigrants without the needed documentation to enter the U.S. either presented themselves at legal ports of entry or were apprehended by Border Patrol between ports of entry.
It is the highest total for February since 2007, Department of Homeland Security officials said at a press conference Tuesday. It is also the highest single month total since Trump was elected in November 2016. Crossings hit nearly 67,000 in October 2016, just before Trump's election.
Still, February did not set an overall record for border traffic. Before 2008, monthly border crossings were consistently over 100,000, and were higher than 200,000 per month in 2000.
By: Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.
Source: NBC News
Start your small business in Portland, Oregon: Study
FBN's Stuart Varney on a study by GoBankingRates.com finding Portland, Oregon was one of the best cities in America to start a small business.
Right now, Congress has a big opportunity to help small business. And while the nature of the opportunity is tremendous, and historic, it may not fit with common perceptions about what type of policies really help local or family-owned companies. The issue before Congress? Approval of a major international trade agreement.
International trade is actually incredibly important to small businesses. It is a little-known fact, but 98 percent of all U.S. exporters are small firms. Nearly 300,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are exporting to foreign markets every day; those companies support around four million American jobs as a result.
I remember the moment my own father – a Mexican immigrant to this country who achieved his own American dream by becoming a restaurant owner – decided to grow his business to include the import and export of goods. It made sense to him to import and export from and to Mexico, but the opportunity to engage in trade was only worthwhile as long as the United States government had a free, fair agreement with the Mexican government. Thankfully, the ground rules were favorable and my father was able to grow his business, hire more people and even pay higher wages as a result.
HISPANIC AMERICANS ARE ON THE RISE IN EVERY WAY — POLITICIANS MUST TAKE NOTE
My father’s story is typical of American businesses – of all sizes – that engage in international trade. According to Jeffrey J. Schott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, workers in manufacturing companies that produce exports earn wages 12 to 18 percent higher than workers at companies that only serve the U.S. market.
Larry Kudlow: USMCA a good deal in everybody's interestVideo
If approved by Congress, President Donald Trump’s carefully negotiated agreement with Mexico and Canada (the “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” which would replace NAFTA) will promote cooperation between the three countries to increase trade and investment opportunities for smaller businesses. The USMCA is actually the first trade agreement in our nation’s history to include a chapter specifically focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises. This chapter will establish a committee, made up of officials from all three countries, that focuses specifically on SMEs. It will also establish patentability standards and patent office best practices to ensure that U.S. innovators (which are so often smaller businesses) are able to protect their inventions. Perhaps most importantly, this historic chapter will create information-sharing tools that will help small-business owners better understand the opportunities the agreement will unlock for them, their businesses, and their employees.
Small businesses tend to be disproportionately impacted by one-size-fits-all government regulations, and the USMCA takes that fact into consideration as well. The agreement will help small firms by enforcing consideration of, and even removing some of, the unnecessary burdens that might currently discourage entrepreneurs from engaging in international trade. For example, the agreement will eliminate the need to open a foreign office as a condition for doing business in another country.
As a long-time advocate for small-business opportunities in government procurement (this was a major initiative of mine when I was the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration), I was especially pleased to see that the USMCA will facilitate the participation of U.S. and Mexican SMEs in government procurement. If passed by Congress, the agreement will leverage technology to encourage the conduct of procurement: a single electronic portal will be created to provide notices of intended procurement. This straightforward step will be a historic leap toward transparency and efficiency for small and medium-sized businesses that are engaging in government procurement.
For businesses of all sizes and types – from manufacturers to farmers and ranchers – free trade opens doors to new markets and new opportunities. New and better-paying jobs are created. By approving the USMCA, Congress can show the small-business community that they understand and appreciate the special role of small business in international trade. It will be a big step for small business, and small-business owners will reward it with their usual, incredible economic contributions: growth, innovation and job creation.
Hector Barreto is the chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator.
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