WASHINGTON – Led by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the democrats on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today sent a letter to President Bush objecting to the shutdown of the Small Business Administration’s largest loan program.

“Mr. President, it should not be, and would not be, necessary to shut down the program, or even impose loan limitations, if the Administration had requested sufficient funding in its budgets, responsibly monitored lending, and acted in a timely way to adjust to the growing demand for 7(a) loans,” the democrats wrote. “Because of this mismanagement, each year the Congress has been forced to bail out the Agency with additional appropriations, and sometimes with emergency legislation.”

On Tuesday, the SBA announced it would immediately halt all lending through the agency’s 7(a) loan program because it had run out of money. The letter from Committee democrats outlines the agency’s history of program mismanagement and provides the President with straightforward solutions to end the so-called “lending holiday.”

“We call upon you to reprogram money immediately in order to get small businesses the loans they are waiting for, and to reprogram money that does not hurt the other programs vital to small businesses.

“The SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program is one of the largest sources of long-term lending to small businesses in this country and the source of more than 347,000 jobs created last year. We cannot afford for this program to be shut down or crippled.”

The eight other democrats on the Committee include Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), John Edwards (D-N.C.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).