WASHINGTON – Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., who has shepherded small business job creation measures through her Committee, tonight made the following comments in regard to President Obama’s State of the Union Address and his important focus on investing in small businesses to help create jobs:

“Tonight President Obama made it clear that investing in our Main Street businesses is the quickest way to improve our economy and create jobs. Small businesses are truly our nation’s job creators, creating 64 percent of all new jobs in the last 15 years. And yet, this past year small businesses have been hit the hardest by the economic downturn. Nearly 85 percent of the jobs lost came from small businesses. We must invest in our small businesses because they are the businesses that have bared the greatest burden in this economy, and they are the businesses that have the greatest potential to improve it.

“The first and fastest way to boost our small businesses’ ability to create jobs is by giving them greater access to capital and tax credits. President Obama highlighted several ways to do this, all of which I support and look forward to hearing more details. Another way is by increasing the loan limit cap on small business loans – something that President Obama has encouraged, and that I, along with 18 Republican and Democratic Senators, have included as part of S. 2869, The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act. In addition to raising the cap on loans, this bill extends important Recovery Act provisions that have helped to create more than 500,000 jobs in the last year.

“In addition to improving lending for small businesses, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative to help small businesses and farmers increase American-made exports and help reach a goal of creating 2 million new jobs in America by doubling our exports. Making minor changes to some of the programs that already exist to help small exporters can help us reach the 2 million goal even faster. I, along with Senator Snowe, made these changes in a bill to boost the exporting potential of small businesses.

“These are simple, inexpensive ways we can make a big impact. I look forward to working with President Obama, his administration and my colleagues in Congress to help our small businesses as we work to create jobs in America.”

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship passed S. 2869, The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act, and S. 2862, The Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act, out of Committee last December. For more information on the bills, please click here.

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk last week announced that his office is dedicating a high-level post to promoting the interests of small business exports, a move Senator Landrieu repeatedly advocated. To read more about the announcement, please click here.

Several small business owners sat with First Lady Michelle Obama during tonight’s address. They included: Ping Fu of Chapel Hill, NC; Chris Lardner of Albuquerque, NM; Juan Yépez of Lawrence, MA; and Trevor Yager of Indianapolis, IN. For biographies of the small business owners, please click here.