Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan, and Congressman Kurt Schrader of Oregon were joined by small business owners for a press conference this morning in the Capitol to discuss the impact of the Small Business Jobs and Credit and Tax Relief Acts. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks:
"Good morning everyone. Leader Hoyer, Jennifer Collins. Jennifer is a small business owner who understands the challenges facing small businesses, but also the opportunities that small businesses have to strengthen the American economy. Molly Gimmel -- another small business owner, who, like Jennifer, has worked with other small business women owners, and knows how deeply the recession has affected them. Helen Han, who is the president and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Welcome, Helen.
"I'm pleased to be here with them and with two members of the -- I say the freshmen -- two of our newest Members of Congress. But they have been here now a year and a half and have made a tremendous difference. Congressman Gary Peters and Congressman Kurt Schrader have offered key provisions in this legislation and their leadership will help ensure that this important legislation becomes law.
"I have often said, when I became House Democratic Leader, that we planted a flag for small businesses -- we planted a flag for our veterans and we planted a flag for small businesses. And when we planted the flag for small businesses, working with Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, the Chair of the committee, but then we did not have a majority yet, I said to them -- I said, "starting a small business must be the most optimistic action a person could take, apart from getting married.' You really have to have a lot of confidence in your decision-making, as you go forward.
"And what an important and exciting decision it is for our small business owners. In doing so, they are reaching for their own self-fulfillment and providing for their families. They are also the engine of job creation and capital creation in our economy and in our country. They have -- small businesses have created two-thirds of new jobs, over the last 15 years -- two-thirds of all new jobs.
"We must help to ensure that small businesses are and can continue to be the engine of our recovery. That means we must help address the challenges they face, including a lack of credit and tight lending standards. Changing the tight lending standards have been one of the biggest appeals that we have had from the small business community. Access to capital, access to capital -- 45 percent of small businesses seeking loans were unable to get their credit needs met last year.
"Today, Congress will pass the second of two bills that will unleash up to $300 billion in loans for small businesses and allow them to grow higher and fuel our economy. It's pretty exciting. These bills also offer $3.5 billion in tax incentives and tax relief to small businesses. Access to capital, tax relief. The latest tax cuts are giving to small businesses will also help get our economy moving.
"These bills will create and save hundreds of thousands of jobs, and this legislation is fully paid for by closing tax loopholes. These bills build on our accomplishments for small businesses. Health insurance reform provides $40 billion in tax credits to help make coverage affordable for many small businesses and create millions of jobs. The Recovery Act, now a year-and-a-half old, has spurred tens of billions of dollars in small business lending, created or saved up to 2.8 million jobs, and that number is growing -- many in small business -- many of those jobs in small businesses, and provided billions in tax incentives to encourage small business investment so they can grow and hire. We have passed legislation to provide tax relief for struggling small businesses through net operating loss provisions in a previous piece of legislation, and tax cuts to spur small business to invest with accelerated write-offs. Health bill -- $40 billion in tax credits, Recovery Act, and the legislation with the net operating loss, and also, the accelerated write-offs.
"Democrats will continue to work on behalf of America's Main Street, our small businesses.
"But now, I want to introduce the distinguished Majority Leader, but as I do, I once again want to acknowledge how important our freshmen class has been in shaping this legislation. Many of them served on the small business committee, several of them have amendments to this legislation. They have been important in shaping the legislation, improving the legislation. Congressman Gary Peters, Congressman Kurt Schrader are champions for our small businesses in America and I'm honored to stand with them today.
"Now, it is my privilege to yield to the distinguished Majority Leader, Mr. Hoyer."