WASHINGTON - Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today sent a second letter to SBA Administrator Hector Barreto urging him to cooperate with Congress to develop a plan for immediately reopening the SBA’s popular 7(a) loan program and keeping it open for the rest of the year.

“Now is the time for finding solutions, not for excuses,” Kerry wrote. “[Y]ou could have exercised your authority to reprogram money instead of abruptly shutting down small business lending.”

Kerry reiterated this suggestion, originally proposed in his letter to Barreto on January 7, 2004, that the SBA reprogram money and seek supplemental funding to avoid the adverse effects a prolonged closure of the 7(a) program would cause for the nation’s small businesses seeking these loans.

Kerry also criticized the SBA’s incomplete responses to the Committee’s January 8, 2004, requests for information on the management and operations of the 7(a) program, and asked the Administrator to provide answers immediately so that the Committee and the SBA can work together to craft a prompt and effective solution.

“On the date of the shut-down, small businesses were waiting for access to more than $600 million in capital,” Kerry wrote. “Therefore, it is imperative that the Agency immediately provide the requested information so that a prompt resolution can be developed and implemented.”

The SBA notified members of Congress via email on January 6, 2004, that the Administration was instituting the “lending holiday” on all 7(a) loans effective immediately because of budgetary constraints.

The full text of Senator Kerry’s letter is available on the web at: https://www.sbc.senate.gov/democrat/sbacontinue.pdf.