In the recent SBA budget request for Fiscal Year 2010, the President sought approximately $779 million in new budget authority for the SBA, which includes $101 million for the Disaster Loan program. This funding increase was critical because since FY 2001, the SBA’s funding was cut 28 percent, the most of any federal agency. While the funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped to significantly restore resources available to small businesses through the SBA, the Committee has strongly advocated for more resources to be directed to small business assistance. The current financial crisis has disproportionally affected small firms and their employees, and job loss figures show that more than 80 percent of job losses since November were from small businesses. With appropriate and reasonable funding, the SBA can more effectively help our country reduce job losses, bankruptcies and business closures.

Recognizing the fiscal constraints before Congress, Senator Snowe and Chair Landrieu requested $880 million, an increase of $101 million over the President’s request, for the SBA, which is less than one-fortieth of 1 percent of the President’s $3.6 trillion request for the entire federal budget. The SBA is the only federal agency dedicated to small businesses, and during this financial crisis it is crucial that we provide adequate resources to the Agency to help entrepreneurs start or maintain their businesses.  In response to the Committee’s request for $880 million in funding, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Financial Services Appropriations Bill, which includes $860 million in funding for the SBA)and its core finance and counseling programs for small businesses. This represents an increase of more than $150 million over the funding level for the SBA in FY2009.  The funding increased provided by the Appropriations Commitee is critical and should be commended.  With Congressional earmarks accounting for a significant amount of the additional funding (approximately $60 million), however, Ranking Member Snowe will continue working with the Appropriations Committee to secure the necessary funding fo fully support small businesses and the SBA's programs.