Today President Bush addressed small business leaders from around the country during National Small Business Week. Following is a statement from Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, responding to Bush’s remarks:

“President Bush talks a big game but his pitch doesn’t make it over home plate. This Administration’s policies favor big businesses over small businesses every chance they get. The President has slashed critical funding for small business programs by nearly 40 percent since he took office – more than any other agency. More than seven months later, small businesses and residents on the Gulf Coast are still waiting for the Bush Administration to cut the red tape and get disaster loan money in the hands of hurricane victims. Small firms who want to build and grow their business need capital, but the Administration wants to increase fees on government-backed loans to them. This administration has failed to help small businesses get their fair share of federal contracts. Enough rhetoric. It’s time for real action to help small businesses from all sectors of our society contribute to our economy and help keep America competitive.”