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. ALTMIRE. Madam Speaker, last month the House and the Senate passed the Military Reservist and Veterans Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act to expand business opportunities for veterans and Reservists. And after Senate action, today we will vote again to pass this legislation that I introduced to ensure veterans and Reservists are afforded every opportunity for economic success at home given their sacrifices abroad.
Starting and maintaining a small business can be challenging for anyone, and unfortunately veterans often face unique obstacles as a result of their military service. The unemployment rate among veterans is more than twice that of the national average, and nearly 40 percent of Reservists lose income when they are deployed.
While Congress has taken action to provide Federal agencies with resources to encourage entrepreneurial opportunities for veterans, I believe that more can still be done to relieve the burden that is placed on small business owners during and after deployment.
At a time when our veteran population continues to grow, it is more important than ever for us to afford our brave men and women in uniform every opportunity for success. The Military Reservist and Veterans Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act provides the SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development with the resources necessary to expand entrepreneurial opportunities for veterans and Reservists and improve existing programs to help keep small businesses afloat while their members are deployed.
The amendment we will consider today makes minor changes to the bill we passed in December, but the intent remains the same. This legislation increases funding for the SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development, improves programs designed to help relieve the burden placed on small business owners during and after deployments, facilitates the coordination of all Federal agencies to focus attention on expanding opportunities for veteran-owned businesses, makes the SBA Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs permanent, and increases the number of veterans business outreach centers across the country.
Madam Speaker, there is no question that veterans have a unique ability to thrive as entrepreneurs. They have the skill and the drive necessary to run successful businesses. But more must be done to help them fulfill their goals and their needs.
I strongly support this legislation, which I introduced, and I ask my colleagues for their support of the Military Reservist and Veterans Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act, and urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this important legislation.
Lastly, Madam Speaker, I would thank the gentleman from Florida, my good friend, Mr. Buchanan; the ranking member, Mr. Chabot, for their help in working through these issues. And hopefully now, with the work of the chairwoman, we can have a bill that can pass both Chambers and move to the President's desk.
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