WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan amendment to the budget resolution by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member and Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, that will add $130 million to the President’s budget request for the Small Business Administration (SBA), bringing the agency to a total of $754 million for next year. This compromise amendment was also sponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), and David Vitter (R-La.).
Yesterday, Kerry, along with Landrieu and Lieberman, put forward Senate Amendment (No. 3072), that included many of the funding priorities in the compromise and rejected the Bush Administration’s proposed cuts to the SBA – which has been slashed by more than 40 percent since President Bush came into office. The Kerry amendment would have increased SBA’s budget by $150 million, for a total of $775 million, to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes. The amendment would have prevented the President from raising interest rates on disaster loans, imposing a new fee on loans and venture capital, eliminating microloan programs, and cutting counseling and contracting assistance to women, minorities, veterans, and Native Americans.
“There’s something wrong in Washington when an Administration that’s created record deficits thinks fiscal responsibility means cutting help for small businesses recovering from a disaster,” Kerry said. “Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and the SBA’s programs routinely generate a return on investment that more than pays for themselves. I am glad my colleagues and I reached a compromise that acknowledges the short-sightedness of the President’s budget proposal for small businesses.”
For the fiscal year 2007 budget, the Kerry-Snowe amendment adds:Kerry fought for more funding in some key programs in his amendment, including $24 million for the New Markets Venture Capital and $15 million for the PRIME programs.
To read Kerry's statement for the record on the SBA's budget, click here.