WASHINGTON – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, applauded Democratic accomplishments for small businesses so far during the 110th Congress. As detailed in a report released by the Democratic Policy Committee, for the first time since President Bush took office, Democrats secured the first real funding increase for small business programs in seven years, passed legislation to help small businesses become more energy efficient, increased business assistance to our veterans and reservists, and promoted bills to boost the innovation and competitiveness of small firms.  The Democratic Policy Committee’s report can be accessed here.

“Democrats are working hard in Congress to make sure that support for small businesses amounts to more than just words. While small businesses are battling on many fronts to stay open – from record gas and oil prices to challenges accessing financing – they need a partner in Washington to fight for them,” said Senator Kerry. “We’ve passed bills into law that will help small businesses boost their energy efficiency and increase aid for veteran and reservist entrepreneurs who want to start a small business or keep it afloat while they’re deployed, but the Bush Administration hasn’t implemented those programs. We’ll hold them accountable and we’ll continue to fight for policies that will help America’s small businesses compete and thrive.”

Small business legislation championed by Democrats and passed into law includes:

Tax Relief

  • A small business tax relief package that includes extended depreciation and cost recovery provisions to help businesses recoup costs for new equipment, expansion of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to encourage the hiring of low-income and disadvantage workers,  reduce reporting requirements for family businesses, and additional tax relief for businesses in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Economic stimulus legislation which includes a provision to help small business investment by increasing the amount small businesses can write off their taxes or “expense” for new investments this year.


  • Provisions to increase Manufacturing Extension Partnership funding to provide smaller manufacturers with resources that help them grow and improve productivity and to create the Technology Innovation Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to fund increased technology development for small and medium sized companies.
  • Funding to increase the use of small high tech businesses to help the military develop the best technologies with an additional $85 million for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the Department of Defense.
  • The bipartisan CLEAN Energy Act, which helps small businesses increase their energy efficiency and ensures that the Bush Administration implements provisions they have ignored since 2005 that help small businesses reduce their dependency on foreign oil.

Small Business Services

  • Increased funding for the Small Business Administration by more than $40 million over last year’s budget. The increased funding will help small business owners start and grow their businesses by giving them access to business training and counseling, assistance to effectively compete for federal contracts, loans and venture capital. SBA’s programs are designed to reach those who have a good business plan and repayment ability, but can’t get access to these services through traditional banks.  They have a particular focus on underserved communities – including women, minorities, veterans, and urban and rural entrepreneurs.
  • A new competitive grant program allowing established, successful Women's Business Centers around the country to compete for matching federal funds. While women represent half of the population and one third of all businesses, they still face higher barriers to successful entrepreneurship than their male counterparts. Women’s Business Centers help women, especially low-income women and minorities, address these barriers and close the wealth gap.

Veterans and Reservists

  • Comprehensive legislation to improve and expand business counseling and financial assistance to veterans and reservists seeking to start or expand a business and keep their business afloat during deployments.

Disaster Recovery

  • Assistance to help small businesses and homeowners get back on their feet after Hurricane Rita and Katrina with $25 million in additional recovery assistance.

Contracting Transparency

  • Legislation to increase contracting transparency at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) by requiring TSA comply with all federal contracting laws. This will create a more competitive bidding process and help level the playing field for small businesses.

For details on these legislative accomplishments, read the Democratic Policy Committee’s report here.