TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF AUTHORIZATION OF PROGRAMS UNDER SMALL BUSINESS ACT AND SMALL BUSINESS INVESTMENT ACT OF 1958 -- (House of Representatives - January 17, 2007)
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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, this bill simply extends all the programs, including pilot programs, the authorities or provisions of the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act as they are presently constituted until the end of this year. Currently, the programs and authorities of the Small Business Administration expire on February 2. Passage of this bill will give the committee the time necessary to work in a bipartisan manner on a more comprehensive Small Business Administration reauthorization bill during the rest of this session.
I am pleased to enclose for the RECORD a letter dated January 8, 2007, from the administrator of the SBA, Steven Preston, endorsing a longer-term extension of the authorities of the SBA.
U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of the Administrator,
Hon. STEVE CHABOT,
Ranking Member, Committee on Small Business, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN CHABOT: I am writing to you regarding the authorization of the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) programs for fiscal year 2007. As you know, those programs were temporarily extended by Public Law 109-316. That authorization is due to expire on February 2, 2007. While SBA's major loan programs will still function without that express authorization several other important authorizations will expire. These include SBA's co-sponsorship authority which enables our district offices to conduct much of their outreach and assistance functions.
Therefore, rather than place the SBA in the unfortunate position of suspending the operation of these programs, I ask that you and your colleagues extend the authorization of SBA's programs through the end of fiscal 2007. Continuing the current authorization without any further amendment will prevent any interruption in the services of the SBA and allow SBA and Congress to work unimpeded on multi-year authorization legislation.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. If you or your staff have any questions please contact C.E. ``Tee' Rowe in our Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at (202) 205-6703.
STEVEN C. PRESTON.
Mr. Speaker, many of the programs of the SBA do not operate under a direct appropriation. This includes the 7(a) General Business Loan Guarantee Program, the Certified Development Company Program and the Small Business Investment Company Program. Passage of this bill will make it absolutely certain that there is no legal ambiguity as to whether or not the Federal Government can continue to guarantee these critical loan and debenture programs for the rest of this year.
In addition, this bill would extend the authority of the Small Business Administration to operate several smaller programs, including grants to small business development centers to participate in the Drug-Free Workplace Program, sustainability funding for women business centers, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Pilot Program, the New Markets Venture Capital Program, and BusinessLinc. It would also extend the SBA's cosponsorship and gift authority, which enables the SBA to accept private donations to help put on events or print publications, thus saving the taxpayer substantial dollars. Finally, H.R. 434 gives the SBA all the authority it needs to continue the operations of the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs.
Mr. Speaker, this bill is quite simple. It contains the exact same language, with only the dates changed, that was signed into law four times in the 108th Congress. It was also passed one time in 2006 when Congress confronted the same problem during previous efforts to pass an SBA reauthorization bill into law.
Extending the authorities of the SBA until December 31 of this year will give the Small Business Committee unimpeded time to develop a comprehensive SBA reauthorization bill without having to confront every few weeks another expiration deadline.
I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner with Chairwoman Velázquez and other committee members to produce a good, fiscally responsible reauthorization bill that can eventually be signed into law by the President. I especially want to thank the graciousness of Chairwoman Velázquez for agreeing to bring up this bill in such an expeditious manner, and look forward to working with her in the upcoming session of Congress.
I want to emphasize what the chairwoman said about the importance of small business to our country. After all, about 99 percent of the businesses in this country have fewer than 500 employees, which by definition means they are small business, and 60 to 80 percent of new jobs in this country are created by these small businesses. Oftentimes the regulations, the taxation, the litigation, there are a whole range of problems which they have to bear.
Mr. Speaker, I hope that we can over the next 2 years work in a bipartisan manner in order to help small businesses. It is really not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is an issue which benefits all Americans. So I think this is especially a committee in which I think bipartisanship is called for, and I am optimistic we will be able to do that.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 434, so that our Nation's small businesses will see no interruption of service from the SBA over the next 11 months while Congress works uninterrupted on a comprehensive reauthorization bill.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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