SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - April 22, 2008)
SENATE RESOLUTION 524--HONORING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT OF THE OWNERS OF SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS IN THE UNITED STATES DURING NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS WEEK, BEGINNING APRIL 21, 2008
Mr. KERRY (for himself, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Cardin, Mrs. Dole, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Thune, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Bayh, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Levin, and Mr. Tester) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship:
S. Res. 524
Whereas the 26,800,000 small business concerns in the United States are the driving force behind the Nation's economy, creating more than 2/3 of all net new jobs and generating more than 50 percent of the Nation's nonfarm gross domestic product;
Whereas small business concerns represent 99.7 percent of all businesses and employ 50 percent of the Nation's workforce;
Whereas small business concerns represent 97 percent of all exporters and produce 28.6 percent of exported goods;
Whereas small business concerns are the Nation's innovators, advancing technology and productivity;
Whereas the resilience, vitality, and growth of small business concerns are critical to the Nation's competitiveness during a time of economic downturn;
Whereas Congress established the Small Business Administration in 1953, to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business concerns in order to preserve free competitive enterprise, to ensure that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts or subcontracts for property and services for the Federal Government be placed with small business concerns, to ensure that a fair proportion of the total sales of Government property be made to such small business concerns, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the Nation;
Whereas for over 50 years, the Small Business Administration has provided aid and assistance to millions of entrepreneurs who have succeeded in achieving the American dream of owning a small business concern, and thus has played a key role in fostering economic growth; and
Whereas the President has designated the week beginning April 21, 2008, as National Small Business Week: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) honors the entrepreneurial spirit of the owners of small business concerns in the United States during National Small Business Week, beginning April 21, 2008;
(2) honors the efforts and achievements of the owners and employees of small business concerns, whose hard work, commitment to excellence, and willingness to take a risk, have made them a crucial part of the Nation's economy;
(3) recognizes that small business concerns are essential to restoring the Nation's economic health;
(4) recognizes the vital role of the programs of the Small Business Administration and the work of its employees and its resource partners in providing assistance to entrepreneurs and the owners of small business concerns;
(5) strongly urges the President to take steps to ensure that--
(A) reasonable rules relating to the procurement program for women-owned small business concerns under section 8(m) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(m)) are expeditiously implemented to give women business owners a fair opportunity to compete for Federal contracts;
(B) small business concerns have access to quality affordable health insurance;
(C) the needs of veterans and reservists who own their own businesses, who work for small business concerns, or want to start their own businesses, are met during deployment and upon their return from duty;
(D) proper measures are enacted to provide a stimulus for business lending during this economic downturn;
(E) the tax burdens of small business concerns are reduced, and that there is a reduction in regulatory and bureaucratic barriers;
(F) small minority owned businesses are supported in their efforts to access the Federal marketplace and gain access to capital;
(G) small business concerns have the tools to become more energy efficient to survive rising costs of energy, increase profits, and reduce the Nation's reliance on foreign oil;
(H) all Federal agencies adhere to the contracting goals for small business concerns, including the goals for small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans, small business concerns owned and controlled by women, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and HUBZone small business concerns;
(I) venture capital and small business loans, including microloans and guaranteed loans that are delivered through private lenders, for start-up firms and growing small business concerns are available to all qualified small business concerns; and
(J) the management assistance programs delivered by resource partners on behalf of the Small Business Administration, such as small business development centers, women's business centers, and the Service Corps of Retired Executives, are provided with the Federal resources necessary to do their jobs; and
(6) urges that the Administrator of the Small Business Administration have an active role as a member of the President's Cabinet.
Mr. KERRY. I am pleased to take this opportunity during National Small Business Week to introduce a bipartisan Senate resolution honoring the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners and urging the federal government to continue to improve upon its efforts to provide the guidance and assistance that has proven so valuable to small businesses across the nation. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I am privileged to have as my Ranking Member Senator OLYMPIA SNOWE from Maine, and other Committee members who provide a voice for small business concerns and who advocate for the efficient and effective implementation of small business programs.
Almost 27 million small businesses power this Nation's economy, representing 99.7 percent of all businesses, creating more than 2/3 of all new jobs, and producing more than a quarter of our exports. Additionally, America's entrepreneurs are the minds responsible for innovations and advancing technologies that make this country resilient and competitive in the global economy and keep us on the cutting edge of technology.
The marketplace can be a daunting arena for entrepreneurs to wade into, and, though they rise to the challenge with great ideas, inventive products, and thorough business plans, there remains a great deal of financial risk and uncertainty in running a small business. The support, guidance, and financial assistance offered by Small Business Administration programs have been of incredible importance to small businesses working to succeed.
Mr. Robert Delhome from Wilmington, Massachusetts, is being honored by the Small Business Administration as the Massachusetts 2008 Small Business Person of the Year for his work as President of Charter Environmental, Inc. This civil and environmental contracting firm is not only at the forefront of the emerging green collar industry, but is also an example of a tremendously successful business that was able to take advantage of the SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program and transform $300 in seed capital into a $30 million a year business. What began with two determined employees and a good idea has become a business of over 100 employees providing vital services and solutions to confront challenging environmental problems. The 8(a) program offers assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners competing for Federal contracts, and Robert is but one of many entrepreneurs to have benefitted from this program.
As we celebrate Earth Day today and discuss the necessity of acting quickly to find workable solutions to our environmental problems, Robert's business is both an inspiration and an indication of the economic and environmental success this industry promises. As we consider the gravity of our environmental challenges, I will continue to promote the essential role that small businesses must play in the process of turning America green, moving us away from our dependence on foreign oil, and creating the innovative industry that will help strengthen our economy. Already our Nation's entrepreneurs are leading the way to economically smart and environmentally sound business practices, and we need to ensure that the tools to become energy efficient are accessible to every small business in the country. Our rapidly rising energy costs only serve to underscore the urgency with which we must address these environmental challenges.
I also continue to be concerned about the lack of small business inclusion in Federal contracts. In an effort to level the playing field, Congress set forth specific procurement goals in law, including goals for women, veteran, and minority owned businesses, but the Bush administration has proven unwilling to work quickly to meet these goals. The Women's Procurement Program is a troublesome example of a larger trend. In 2000, this program was created to ensure the Federal Government sets aside at least 5 percent of all procurement opportunities for women-owned businesses. More than 7 years later, only 3.4 percent of Federal contracts are reaching those businesses.
Janet Ceddia, president of a security and fencing company in Hudson, Massachusetts, is just the type of business owner who would benefit if the Federal Government improved its efforts at reaching out to all types of small businesses.
A small, disadvantaged, 8(a) certified, woman-owned company, Security Construction Services, Inc. in Hudson, Massachusetts, has grown enormously in recent years, doubling its workforce and expanding its services as the company has received $15 million in government contracts. Today, Janet's business has completed contracts for the Air Force, Army Reserve, Coast Guard, and Veterans Administration, among other agencies, and Janet was honored as the 2008 Region I Prime Contractor of the Year for her success. As Janet has proven, when given the chance, small businesses prove to be excellent partners in Federal projects.
I would also like to highlight the work of Maria Gooch-Smith, who is being honored for her work as the Executive Director of the South Eastern Economic Development, SEED, Corporation in Taunton, Massachusetts. Over the last eight years, SEED has made an average of 150 loans each year, and has operated as the largest SBA 504 and Micro Lender in Massachusetts. Last year alone, SEED granted or leveraged over $105 million, which directly contributed to the creation of 637 new jobs, and, in doing so, demonstrated the vast capability of SBA 504 Certified Development Companies. It is imperative that these small business loan programs receive the necessary resources for them to maintain quality, effective programs and services to support small businesses and our local communities in a positive way.
I am proud of all of the hardworking Americans who face the challenges of opening and running a small business, and I encourage us all to take this week of special recognition to reflect on the possibilities for further improving the operating climate for small business owners and to reaffirm our resolve to fight for the necessary resources to assist small businesses. I applaud the dedication, innovation, and achievements of America's entrepreneurs, and I pledge to continue to advocate on their behalf.