WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., today commented on President Obama’s budget request of $779 million for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Excluding disaster loan funding, the FY2010 request is a 40 percent increase above President Bush’s budget request last year.

“Small businesses are essential to the economic recovery of our nation, and SBA’s role in fostering their success is more important than ever,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Rebuilding SBA after eight years of cuts could not happen in one year, but President Obama has made significant progress with this budget. He has requested funding for several critical small business programs that were largely ignored under the previous administration. This budget will create and save jobs by investing in small businesses and the programs they need to survive.”

The budget request includes:

• $80 million for the 7(a) program, the largest SBA loan program. (Since 2005 no funding requested.).

• $3 million for the microloan program to support a level of $25 million in loans, and an additional $10 million for technical assistance to complement the $24 million for technical assistance in the Recovery Act and $6 million to support a level of $50 million in microloans. The microloan program allows intermediaries to provide small loans to entrepreneurs and start-ups, helping to create or retain close to 10,000 jobs last year. (Since 2005 no funding requested).

• $3.1 million for PRIME technical assistance, which provides training and business assistance to low-income entrepreneurs with very small businesses. (Since 2002 no funding request).

• $97 million for Small Business Development Centers ($10 million more than requested last year). The funding is necessary to address an increased demand for counseling services.

• $13 million for Women Business Centers ($1.1 million than requested last year). The additional funding would make it possible to provide funding for at least seven more centers. In 2008, 7.2 million firms were owned by women. These firms employed 7.3 million workers and created $1.1 trillion in revenue.

• Funding increases requested for SCORE, Native American Outreach, 7(j) technical assistance, and HUBZones.