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Ms. CANTWELL. Madam President, I wish to thank my colleague, the Senator from Delaware, for his remarks on important banking issues and for his diligence in trying to continue to focus on the need for financial regulation.
I agree there were definitely winners and losers in the process in 2008. That probably shouldn't have been done that way. So I thank him for his comments on that, and, yes, Congress needs to play a larger oversight role.
One thing we need to do now is to make sure we are moving forward on the small business package that is in front of us. We had an important vote last week to make sure we are increasing access to capital for small businesses by helping them recapitalize. I am already receiving calls from small businesses and organizations in my State. One I received is from the central part of our State from a lender who said:
We would absolutely use the funds for small business lending. Our bank has a backlog of $50 million to $70 million in loan requests which is counter to statements of soft loan demand. We have reduced our lend to preserve capital as expected by the regulators. This legislation would give us the capital to significantly increase lending.
So that is what we are hearing from financial institutions; that this is a critical piece of legislation to move small business lending.
Another component of the bill is a provision to enhance the loan guarantee program--the 7(a) and the 504 lending program, the Recovery Act, and subsequent extensions providing funding authority to reduce loan fees from borrowers and to increase the 7(a) guarantees.
Just this morning, a constituent of mine called saying he had made some hires in January and was trying to continue to grow his business but wasn't able to get access to capital. So he certainly wants to see this program and its enhancements.
These enhancements to the SBA programs expired at the end of May. So this is so timely that we move ahead. In June, approved loans from the SBA fell two-thirds, from $1.9 billion down to just $647 million. So that is a drop of $1.2 billion in loans to small businesses. It was the worst month for SBA lending in a number of years.
So that is where we are. We have banks calling in saying they need access to capital, we have a program that can help, and we have an SBA program that has fallen off and needs to be implemented. So we need to pass this small business legislation. The longer we delay, the longer constituents all across the country and small businesses will be starved for the capital they need to grow jobs.
I wish to give an example because in my State we have over 140,000 small businesses that have employees; that is, in addition to the owners. Since this recession began in 2008, our State has lost over 142,000 jobs. So if each of those small businesses just hired one more employee, it would more than wipe out the jobs lost in the State. So this kind of job growth--one employee per small business--would be a huge economic boost to our economy.
I hope my colleagues will want to move forward on this legislation as soon as possible. There are 27,000 small businesses in America, and small businesses were the hardest hit by the recession. Two-thirds of the job losses we saw came from small businesses.
Seventy-five percent of new job creation comes from those small businesses.
This bill, besides the SBA program and the Small Business Access to Capital Program, addresses the depreciation rate for capital, another thing that many people say will help investment in small business equipment and manufacturing and help us restore jobs.
We know what our opportunities are. We can move ahead on this legislation, with this bill that includes these small business tax cuts and access to capital and expansion of this critical small business program or we can continue to stymie what creates the real economic job growth of our economy--small business.
I urge my colleagues to support moving ahead on this legislation. Let's not delay another day. Wall Street certainly got its due. It certainly got help and support from many in the previous administration. Let's make sure that small business and Main Street get the support they deserve to move ahead.
I yield the floor.
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