The Hill; Sen. Mary Landrieu

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. When our economy has the flu -– as it does now -– small businesses get pneumonia. But when given a shot, small firms are essential tools to our nation’s economic recovery.

President Obama knows this. That is why earlier this week he set in motion a bold plan to get our economy back on track. The plan takes immediate steps to increase entrepreneurs’ access to capital, which has dried up because of a frozen secondary market that is discouraging banks from making new loans.

The Administration will buy Small Business Administration loans to free up the secondary market. It will also take aggressive steps to implement provisions that Senator Snowe and I fought to include in the recovery package. These provisions increase the SBA loan guarantee to up to 90 percent and temporarily eliminate borrower fees on 7(A) loans and key fees on 504 loans. These critical steps will unclog the secondary market, reducing the risks lenders face when making new loans while making the loans more affordable to entrepreneurs.

These are important first steps, but we will continue to work with entrepreneurs, lenders and the Administration to learn what more we can do to stabilize the economy and get America back to work. I look forward to chairing a hearing on Thursday that will look into additional ways to help our entrepreneurs during these tough times by first understanding the factors that caused them to be shut out of the market.