WASHINGTON –Today Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, applauded the Democratic accomplishments for small businesses during the first session of the 110th Congress. Kerry also worked in a bipartisan manner with appropriators to secure the first real funding increase for small business programs in seven years. “Democrats are fighting for small businesses in Congress and we’re getting things done,” said Senator Kerry. “We’ve already increased funding for small business programs, passed historic legislation to help small businesses become more energy efficient, expanded research and development opportunities, made it easier for small firms to compete for TSA contracts, and provided assistance to Gulf Coast residents still struggling to rebuild since Hurricane Katrina. When Congress returns in January, I look forward to continuing to help small businesses, starting with those owned by veterans, minorities, and women.” Small business legislation championed by Senator Kerry and passed into law includes:

  • More than $40 million in additional funding for key Small Business Administration (SBA) programs over last year’s funding (currently awaiting President Bush’s signature);
  • The bipartisan CLEAN Energy Act, which helps small businesses increase their energy efficiency and ensures that the Bush Administration implements provisions they have ignored since 2005 that help small businesses reduce their dependency on foreign oil;
  • $25 million in additional recovery assistance for small businesses and homeowners affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita;
  • A renewal grant program for established, successful Women's Business Centers around the country;
  • $85 million in additional funding for increasing the use of small, high-tech businesses to help the military develop the best technologies through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program; and
  • Increased contracting transparency and accountability at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) by requiring the agency to follow the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Small business legislation that has been passed by the full Senate, but awaits further action includes:

  • Expanding business opportunities for veterans and helping reservists keep their businesses afloat during and after deployment;
  • A critical disaster reform bill that will improve assistance to business owners and homeowners after a disaster;
  • Providing small employers with a tax credit for paying a salary differential to reservist employees called up to active duty; and
  • Securing tools for small businesses to enroll eligible children of employees in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program;In addition, in 2007, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held 18 hearings and roundtables on important issues facing small businesses, including affordable health care; access to capital; federal contracting; expanding minority, women and veteran entrepreneurship; small business research funding; disaster response reform; and reducing high energy costs.