(At the request of Mr. REID, the following statement was ordered to be printed in the RECORD.)
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, on behalf of myself, Senator SNOWE and Senator BENNETT, I am offering an amendment to the FY2003 Supplemental Appropriations bill in order to make available an additional $1 billion in government guaranteed loans to small businesses.
Let me make clear to my colleagues that we are not requesting additional money for the Small Business Administration. This amendment is technical, clarifying a provision enacted as part of the Conference Report to H.J. Res. 2, the FY2003 Omnibus Appropriations Act. It clarifies that Congress intends that the SBA to use a more accurate methodknown in the technical terms as an econometric modelto estimate the cost of all small business loans authorized under Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act of FY2003.
Right now the SBA is only using the new method to estimate the cost of "regular" 7(a) loans, treating differently 7(a) loansknown as Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief (STAR) Loansmade to small business victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This inconsistently affects the overall program by leaving it short on lending dollars at time when demand for loans through the SBA's flagship loan program is up 38 percent. If the SBA will use the new, more accurate method to calculate STAR loans, it will mitigate the shortfall by making available an additional $1.2 billion in loans to small businesses. This amendment clarifies the SBA's authority to do this.
I thank Senator HOLLINGS, GREGG, BYRD and STEVENS for their help on this important issue.