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What does Congress have in mind for 2005? Go back to the future to find out.

This story appears in the January 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you want to look ahead at the small-business agenda as the new session of Congress gets underway, it helps to look back. Senators and representatives typically launch initiatives or make final pushes for the upcoming year just as the past year's session is drawing to a close.

Certainly, when a senior member of the Committee on Ways & Means drops a bill in September that would increase the minimum wage and offset the impact on small businesses with concessions, small-business groups go on point. Rep. Phil English's (R-PA) bill increases the current minimum wage of $5.15 per hour to $6.50 over three years but exempts companies with less than 10 employees from paying the higher rate. While small-business groups will likely fight such a hike, English tries to make the bill more palatable by including a new home-office deduction and increasing the number of small businesses exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act for three years.

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