February 14, 2008


WASHINGTON D.C. -

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) announced today that the President has signed into law legislation that will expand business opportunities for veterans and help reservists keep their businesses afloat during and after deployment.  The Senate unanimously cleared the Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act of 2007 (H.R. 4253).

 “As alarming numbers of our Guard members and reservists continue to selflessly answer their nation’s call to duty, we in Congress must similarly fulfill our responsibility to protect their livelihoods back home,” said Senator Snowe.  “The state of our economy underscores the need to quickly sign this bipartisan and bicameral legislation into law so that we can provide assistance to our nation’s veterans’ entrepreneurs.”

Senator Snowe has been at the forefront of the effort to provide assistance to veteran small business owners dating as far back as 2005, when she offered S. 1014, the Supporting Our Patriotic Businesses Act of 2005.  Key provisions from S.1014 and two other bills that she offered in the past few years were included into legislation signed by the President this afternoon. 

The Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act of 2007 is based on legislation Senators Snowe and Kerry introduced earlier in 2007, the Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act (S. 1784), and includes provisions from a House-passed bill sponsored by Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA.).  Specifically, the legislation signed by the President would:

- Increase the authorization of appropriations for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Veteran Business Development

- Create an Interagency Taskforce on Veteran Small Business to focus on increasing veterans’ small business success, procurement and franchising opportunities, and access to capital

- Make permanent the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs

- Allow the SBA Administrator to offer loans up to $50,000 without requiring collateral from a loan applicant

- Improve the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program by providing a longer application deadline, creating a pre-application loan approval process, and expanding outreach and technical assistance

- Require a Government Accountability Office report on the needs of service-disabled veterans and a separate report on how to improve relations between employers and reservist employees

- Create a loan participation program in which veterans can receive 7(a) loans while paying 50 percent of the fees

- Require Veteran Business Outreach Centers to increase their participation in the Transition Assistance Program

- Create a grant program to improve Small Business Development Centers’ outreach to the veteran community

- Instruct the Associate Administrator of the Office of Veterans Business Development to create and disseminate information aimed at informing women veterans about the resources available to them