PROVIDING FOR CONCURRENCE BY HOUSE WITH AMENDMENT IN SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4253, MILITARY RESERVIST AND VETERAN SMALL BUSINESS REAUTHORIZATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - January 16, 2008)
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Mr. CHABOT. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Today, Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the request to suspend the rules and pass House Resolution 921, which agrees to the Senate amendment to H.R. 4253, the Military Reservist and Veterans Small Business Reauthorization Opportunity Act of 2007, subject to an amendment.
I would like to thank Chairwoman Velázquez for working in a cooperative and bipartisan manner to bring this resolution to the floor, which, again, incorporates a number of provisions of a bill authored by Mr. Buchanan from Florida, a freshman member of the Small Business Committee.
The provisions of this resolution are substantially similar to those contained in H.R. 4253 passed by the House in the last session. For the sake of brevity, interested parties can refer to the December 5, 2007 Congressional Record for that statement.
The resolution makes necessary technical changes to the Senate amendment. The House bill required the establishment of an interagency task force to improve business advice given to veteran-owned small businesses. This resolution restores the requirement that the interagency task force include the advice from veteran service organizations. It makes no sense to try and improve veterans services to veterans without actually consulting them.
Reservists have their own set of operational problems, especially if they own a business or are a key employee in a small business. These Reservists are making a sacrifice to the health of their business in order to protect the liberty and freedom of all Americans. The least we can do is provide the small businesses owned by or employing these Reservists sufficient access to advice and capital to enable their businesses to survive during their absence. The resolution before us today does just that.
In particular, the resolution ensures that small communities where a Reservist-owned business is a major source of employment will have access to economic injury disaster loan funds from the SBA to pay employees and meet other expenses while the owner is on active duty. Small communities that rely on one employer should not have to suffer because the owner of a business has elected the noble obligation to serve our country in uniform.
Finally, the resolution adopts a modified form of the reduction in costs for guaranteed loans made to veterans under SBA's 7(a) loan program. I commend the chairwoman for taking an approach that helps veterans obtain loans without unduly increasing costs to the American taxpayer or other borrowers under the 7(a) loan program.
No one can dispute the sacrifice that America's veterans have made and continue to make in defense of our country. While the repayment of that debt may never be fully compensated, we can never fully pay back those that have served this country so honorably in uniform, we can certainly provide them with the needed assistance to prosper in civilian life. Today's resolution will do that. I want to thank the chairwoman again for working to make this possible and thank Mr. Buchanan for his leadership on this issue.
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