WASHINGTON – The United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today held a hearing to look into contracting opportunities for small businesses as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition to key provisions to increase lending to entrepreneurs, the Recovery Act invests in infrastructure projects throughout the country, creating opportunities for small businesses nationwide.

“One of the principal oversight responsibilities of this committee is to ensure that small businesses have the opportunity to sell quality goods and services to the federal government,” said Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La. “Access to the federal market has made it possible for many of America’s Main Street businesses to not only survive, but thrive. While I have been encouraged by the implementation of some Recovery Act provisions to increase small business lending, I remain concerned that small businesses are being left out of many contracting opportunities for new infrastructure projects. In Louisiana, after Katrina and Rita recovery money was spent, we learned that many small businesses never even knew about rebuilding contracts. Today’s hearing is intended to prevent us from looking back in five years to ask why Recovery Act funding never made its way to small businesses.”

“It's been 94 says since the Recovery Act was signed into law, and according to the Administration, small business contractors across the country have received only 10.3 percent of total stimulus dollars being spent,” said Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Main. “This is simply unacceptable. Small businesses deserve their fair share of federal funds -- that is, at least 23 percent of federal contracting dollars -- throughout the entire Recovery Act process.”

Today’s hearing comes a day after Sens. Landrieu and Snowe sent a letter to governors from all 50 states encouraging them to make Recovery Act contracts available to small businesses. A copy of one of the letters is available here.

More information on today’s hearing, including opening statements, hearing video and witness testimony, is available here.