WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, made the following statement on the announcement that Karen Mills, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is stepping down:

“For the past four years, it has been my honor and pleasure to work with Karen Mills to provide help and support to the more than 28 million small businesses across America.  When she stepped into the job, she took over an agency that was at a crossroads after years of neglect.  Under her leadership, SBA transformed into a more effective federal champion for small businesses, with more than 2,000 full-time employees helping small business owners and entrepreneurs secure financing, technical assistance, training and federal contracts.

“Her efforts were rewarded last year, when President Obama moved Karen Mills into his Cabinet.  It was a much-deserved and long-overdue move that gave small businesses a seat at the table in the White House Cabinet Room.

“During her time as SBA Administrator, we enjoyed a strong working relationship, which allowed us to achieve a number of significant accomplishments.  Most significantly, the landmark Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 that added billions of dollars of lending and investment to America’s entrepreneurs, provided $12 billion in tax relief to small businesses from coast to coast, expanded trade and export opportunities for small businesses, increased small business access to federal contracts and expanded counseling and technical assistance programs by partnering with hundreds of non-profits throughout the country.  Thanks to this bill, SBA supported approximately $60 billion in lending over the past two years, which were the two highest SBA lending years on record. 

“In September 2011, SBA successfully rolled out the first round of State Trade and Export Promotion grants to 47 states and four territories, totaling $30 million, and repeated this process in September 2012.  These STEP grants maximize the federal-state-local resources to help small businesses export so they can grow their business and create jobs.

“Working closely with Administrator Mills, we were also able to extend the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs for an additional six years.  These programs allow small businesses to compete for a portion of federal research dollars in order to help the agencies meet their many missions from areas of health and environment to national defense and agriculture, and move the ideas from lab to market, whether for the government or commercial purposes.

“Congress is losing a talented and effective partner and America’s small businesses are losing a tireless advocate.  I thank Karen Mills for her service to her country and wish her well in the next chapter of her life.  I also look forward to working with the White House to find a new SBA Administrator to fill the large void being left by her departure.”