Washington, DC— Senate Small Business Committee Chair Mary Landrieu and Senators Barbara Boxer and Jeff Merkley joined Todd McCracken of the National Small Business Association and Paul G. Merski of the Independent Community Bankers of America at a press conference this morning to discuss the benefits for small businesses in new legislation, including a fiscally responsible fund to expand small business lending. This legislation will help small businesses ensure the access to credit they need to create the jobs that drive the economy, and Democrats hope it will receive the broad support it deserves in the Senate.

“Small businesses in Louisiana and across the country needs champions in Washington that will actually look out for their best interest,” Chairwoman Landrieu said. “Moving forward with the Small Business Lending Fund will unlock over $300 billion in capital for small businesses to put American’s back to work, while also saving taxpayers money to the tune of $1.1 billion. Eight of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle supported this package on the floor when they voted to begin debate, and it is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together as strong advocates for the small businesses that have been the backbone of our country’s job creation for years.”

“Even as our economy begins to recover, smalls businesses in California and across the country are still struggling to get the credit they need to buy inventory, expand and hire new workers,” Senator Boxer said. “By working with community banks to increase lending to small businesses, we will help small business owners create jobs and get our economy back on track.”

“Small businesses in Oregon and around the country are ready to expand and put folks to work, but they’re having trouble getting the loans they need from small banks in their community,” Senator Merkley said. “The Small Business Lending Fund will help small businesses create jobs and will save taxpayers money. Small businesses are the engines of job creation, and credit is the oil to keep the engine running. This provision will help small businesses put America back to work.”

"The National Small Business Association (NSBA) is pleased to support the Small Business Jobs Act and is particularly gratified that it contains a provision allowing small-business owners to deduct the cost of health insurance incurred in 2010 for themselves and their family members in the calculation of their 2010 self-employment tax,” said NSBA President Todd McCracken. “ However, NSBA strongly urges Congress to retain the bill's Small Business Lending Fund, which could significantly improve the credit crunch currently hampering small-business job creation."

"The Small Business Lending Fund will be a powerful tool to give the nation's thousands of community banks the leverage to support $300 billion in new small business lending. Anyone who has truly listened to the concerns of small businesses seeking credit should back the Small Business Lending Fund," said Paul Merski, Chief Economist for Independent Community Bankers of America. "The Small Business Lending Fund will allow Main Street lenders to get credit to Main Street businesses by getting $300 billion in new small business credit flowing -- and that's real job-creating power."

Today, the Independent Community Bankers of America and 29 state community bank associations sent a letter to the Senate leadership urging passage of this bill that Democrats are fighting for. To view a copy of the letter, please click here.

To view a video of the press conference, please click here.