WASHINGTON – Chair Cardin spoke on the Senate floor to recognize small businesses across the country; address the danger of the “Default on America Act” on our economy; and introduce a resolution expressing support for the designation of the week of April 30, 2023, through May 6, 2023, as "National Small Business Week." Below are Chair Cardin’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
I rise today as chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and on behalf of over 33 million small businesses across the country to recognize National Small Business Week.
When I complete my remarks, I am going to ask consent to pass S. Res. 200, which has been cleared from the hotline, which is sponsored by me, Senator Ernst, and the distinguished Senator from New Jersey and a distinguished member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, our current Presiding Officer, Senator Booker. This is a resolution that recognizes the contributions of small businesses and entrepreneurs in every community in the United States.
A lot has changed in the 60 years since the week was first celebrated in 1963, Small Business Week, but today, small businesses are as resilient as ever. They have faced immense challenges like COVID-19 and continue to serve their communities with great commitment and courage.
Our small businesses deserve far more than a week of appreciation for all they do, but this week, we look forward to celebrating them and committing our full and unconditional support.
Small businesses account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses and employ nearly half of all U.S. workers. They are spearheaded by entrepreneurs like Lois Gamerman, from my home State of Maryland, who was hit hard during the pandemic but who pulled her business through to continue serving our great State. Her grit and resourcefulness earned her the 2023 Maryland Small Business Person of the Year. I congratulate Lois on that accomplishment.
Lois saw an 85-percent loss in sales as the hospitality industry suffered during the pandemic. Her business, Soft Stuff Distributors, received help from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program and the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to keep its doors open.
I thank all of my colleagues for their help in the passage of those two critically important bills--bipartisan efforts to keep our small businesses alive.
Lois is just one example of many small businesses that are alive today because of the efforts that we did here in the U.S. Senate. Now Soft Stuff occupies 33,000 square feet of space and employs over 50 individuals.
For Lois and the millions of entrepreneurs who depend on these resources, we must double down and continue to fund the programs that help fuel their success. The ``Default on America Act'' that Speaker McCarthy unveiled last week would do exactly the opposite. It would cause the small businesses we love and need, to suffer.
America needs to invest in our small businesses, not abandon them. If the ``Default on America Act'' were to become law, accessible capital for many entrepreneurs would diminish, and they would have nowhere to turn for assistance.
In 2022, the SBA's entrepreneurial development programs served 1.2 million small businesses. The ``Default on America Act'' proposes cutting spending to fiscal year 2022 levels. If spending for these critical programs is cut, the SBA would serve 125,000 fewer small businesses than in previous years; 125,000 American small businesses would be denied the resources and assistance that are critical to their
While many small business owners would find themselves struggling without necessary resources, entrepreneurs of color, women, rural, and other underserved small business owners in particular would feel the squeeze.
Now is not the time to walk back our support. In fact, under the Biden-Harris administration, we have seen a small business boom. Today, there are more small business owners nationwide than ever, and now is the time to invest in them, to grow our economy from the middle out and the bottom-up, and to build on the small business boom.
We must come together to keep our communities strong, not push for legislation that would cut jobs and harm the local shops we love. Part of keeping our communities strong is by ensuring that the Agencies serving them work efficiently and effectively. The Small Business Administration does essential work in supporting small businesses and their communities.
For the sake of our small businesses, I ask my friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together so we can pass the long-overdue reauthorization of the Small Business Administration. National Small Business Week is our chance to show our small businesses how valuable they are and to pledge our continued support.
To all of America's small businesses and entrepreneurs, thank you for what you do this week and every week.