WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate is expected to vote as early as today on the government's federal spending blueprint which includes a provision securing an additional $97 million to the Small Business Administration's (SBA) budget for next year – a 21 percent increase above the $464 million President Bush requested. The provision, authored by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, was included in the Budget Resolution passed by the Senate on March 23 and remained in the final conference report which the House of Representatives is scheduled to take up today.

"This is a victory for small businesses across America. We've worked in a bipartisan way to restore funding to critical programs that help our entrepreneurs succeed," said Kerry. "In Massachusetts, this means more outreach to veterans, more contracting assistance, and more business counseling services from our statewide network of Small Business Development Centers and Women's Business Centers like the Center for Women and Enterprise in Boston and Worcester."

"America's small businesses take risks others don't and that's why working together to help small businesses compete and succeed is so vital. These entrepreneurs form the core of our economy and I am so pleased that funding will be restored for so many of the SBA programs that are working so well in Maine and across our nation," said Snowe.

The Budget Resolution provides guidance to the Appropriations Committees as they set the actual spending levels for next year. The Kerry-Snowe amendment to the Budget Resolution was cosponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-D-Conn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Specifically, it increases funding for:
  • Veterans Programs to $2 million (from $743,000 in the President's budget request);
  • 7(j) Technical Assistance Program to $3 million (from $1.5 million);
  • Small Business Development Centers to $110 million (from $87 million);
  • SCORE Program to $7 million (from $4.95 million);
  • Women's Business Centers to $16.5 million (from $11.9 million);
  • Native American Outreach to $2 million (from $772,000);
  • U.S. Export Assistance Centers to $7 million (from $5.2 million);
  • Microloan Technical Assistance to $20 million (the President's budget proposal sought to eliminate this program)
  • Microloans to $3.2 million (from zero)
  • Program for the Investment in Microentrepreneurs to $5 million (the President's budget proposal sought to eliminate this program)
  • Hiring 100 Procurement Center Representatives (oversee federal contracting) to $10 million (from $900,000)
  • New Markets Venture Capital to $5 million (from zero)
  • New Markets Technical Assistance to $5 million (from zero)
  • HUBZones to $10 million (from $2 million)
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) outreach programs to $6 million (from zero)