WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, held a hearing today to examine ways to reduce or eliminate wasteful, duplicative or ineffective operations of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) programs without undermining the SBA’s ability to serve the needs of small business owners.

“Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, where fraud and waste exist in programs intended to help small businesses, but we still must work to rid programs of these inefficiencies,” Senator Landrieu said. “We have identified several programs that aren’t performing to their full potential, or have problems with their operation. I will work with the SBA to improve these programs. If improvement is not possible, we must eliminate them to safeguard the good programs at the SBA.

“To suggest that the SBA and its programs that do have a successful track record are easily abolished is irresponsible, and I will continue to work to strengthen and promote this Agency.”

Testifying before the Committee on the first panel were SBA Administrator Karen Mills and Inspector General Peggy Gustafson. The second panel included William B. Shear, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Kevin Baron, Director of Government Affairs of the American Small Business League, Greg Clarkson, Executive Vice President-SBA Lending Division of BBVA Compass Bank and Chairman of NAGGL Board of Directors, Tad DeHaven, a Budget Analyst with the Cato Institute and Fran Pastore, President and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council.

Prior to today’s hearing, Senator Landrieu fought to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the U.S. Small Business Administration. In January 2011, Senator Landrieu and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, sent letters to Administrator Mills and Inspector General Gustafson requesting recommendations for programs within the SBA that could be eliminated or substantially reduced, without undermining the agency’s ability to serve the needs of small business owners.

Additionally, in March of 2011, Senators Landrieu, Snowe, Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the Small Business Contracting Fraud Prevention Act (S. 633). This bipartisan legislation provides a comprehensive oversight framework within the SBA to execute effective certification, surveillance and monitoring, and robust enforcement of its entire contracting portfolio. The bill also increases criminal penalties for businesses awarded contracts through fraudulent means.

To view a complete copy of Senator Landrieu’s statement, or to watch the hearing in full, please click here.