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Mr. ELLSWORTH. I thank the chairman and thank all of my colleagues on the committee for their hard work on this bill, especially Chairwoman Velázquez and Ranking Member Graves for their leadership and the bipartisan spirit with which we wrote this bill.
Mr. Chairman, tough economic times like these we are in right now have time and time again spurred the innovations to put us back on the right track. The entrepreneurs who take on the risk of starting a new business in these times, they are the ones who will transform our economy and jump-start growth in our communities.
Unfortunately, entrepreneurs in my district and across the country are being turned away by lenders nervous about the risk of starting a new business. That's why it's so important that we pass this bill today. The Small Business Financing and Investment Act will provide much-needed assistance to entrepreneurs who are just asking for a chance to succeed.
The Small Business Administration's microloan program helps entrepreneurs like these secure start-up capital to get their new ventures off the ground. Unfortunately, the SBA's microloan program remains underused.
Too many of these funds Congress has provided to help these small businesses are being left on the table, despite the credit crunch in the private marketplace. Clearly we need to bridge the gap so that more aspiring business owners find the credit they need to get started.
The legislation before us includes a bill that I authored to improve how the SBA's microloan program functions. The Small Business Microlending Expansion Act makes a number of changes to improve this program and expand its reach to more small businesses.
These changes will put unused loan funds toward making existing microloans more affordable. It will get more lenders involved in the program while expanding the amount existing lenders can provide to their communities. It improves the ability of lenders to provide the technical assistance entrepreneurs need to succeed.
Simply put, this bill will increase the capital flowing to entrepreneurs, who can use those loans to build a business, employ their neighbors, and improve their community. That is our goal today, and it should be the goal every day.
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