WASHINGTON – The United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today held a hearing on President Obama’s budget blueprint for the Small Business Administration (SBA). The hearing, entitled “The FY2010 Budget Request for the SBA,” gave the SBA an opportunity to present the basics of the President’s budget request and allowed members to communicate to the Administration their priorities for the agency. President Obama’s budget calls for an increased level of funding for the SBA over the last Administration on top of the $730 million appropriated to the agency in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“An increase in the SBA’s budget and a focus on revitalizing the agency are welcome changes proposed by the Administration,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “Last week, this Committee heard from small business owners unable to get loans and maintain lines of credit to keep their doors open. In some cases, even after never missing a payment in years, Main Street businesses are losing their credit lines and are cut off from the capital they need to survive and grow. I am pleased the SBA will have the authority to back up to $28 billion in loans and that there is support for microloans. For years, the previous Administration continually tried to eliminate that program. I also consider helping veterans a priority, and I urged the SBA to fund and open veteran business outreach centers to help returning veterans start businesses and create jobs.

“I am also pleased that the Administration is taking a bold approach to unlock frozen credit markets and implement the initiatives Sen. Snowe and I fought for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” Sen. Landrieu said. “The President understands how serious the problem is, and I am hopeful that his final FY2010 budget will complement the initiatives in the Recovery Act and the $15 billion the Administration has dedicated to unclogging the secondary market. We must work to make sure SBA-backed loans are affordable for borrowers and attractive to private sector lending partners.”

“Because the SBA’s budget was drastically slashed by 27 percent between Fiscal Years 2001 and 2008, the largest cut to any agency, President Obama’s budget must swiftly restore Agency funding to a level where it can fully benefit our nation’s small businesses,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “The Administration’s approximate figure of $700 million – while a vast improvement to recent requests – still does not rectify the funding cuts of the last eight years, when accounting for inflation. The SBA’s core programs created or retained almost 2 million jobs in 2008 alone, they should be funded at the $880 million level our Committee has recommended. We must spare no expense in providing small businesses with the tools and resources they require to lead us out of this devastating recession.”

View the hearing in its entirety here.