Speaker Nancy Pelosi today toured The Culinary Edge, which received a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Culinary Edge provides integrated culinary services to the restaurant and foodservice industries. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
"Thank you very much, Aaron [Noveshen]. Congratulations on opening day here. What an honor it is for us to be here, especially on opening day. I wish you much success in your expanded endeavor. As founder of The Culinary Edge and an eloquent voice for power of small businesses, and the lending that they need to create jobs and grow the economy, thank you, Aaron.
"Scott Hauge I have known for decades. He has been a champion for small businesses, an advocate, an intellectual resource, and a relentless supporter. Thank you, Scott, for your leadership and for being here today.
"Small Business Administrator Elizabeth Echols spoke very importantly about what the Obama Administration has done in terms of SBA loans. We are proud of that. I will talk more about it in just a moment. Thank you, and we are honored by your presence, Madame Administrator.
"Michael Chan, you spoke to the need for diversity, for recognizing that many small businesses are created by women and minorities, and our communication with them and our financial literacy has to be culturally appropriate, so that we are doing the job that we do, because so much of the growth in small businesses is from our minority community.
"And, Earnest [East], my goodness, I cannot wait to taste the pies. What an entrepreneur you are, and ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
"I have some things I want to say specifically about the bill. But first I want to say this. When I became House Democratic Leader, we planted two flags, because we say that there was so much more that needed to be done, and that there was some reputation that it was being done, but it was not. One was for our nation's veterans. And some of us were together last week, when we observed that more had been done for veterans in the last two to four years than had been done in the history of the Veterans Administration, especially with the Democratic President, where we can do more than was done since the GI Bill in 1944. And the other flag we planted, we went to the top of the Hill, and planted a flag for small businesses. I have always said that there is nothing more optimistic -- perhaps maybe getting married -- than starting a small business. This is not for the faint of heart. This takes great courage. And it is really important, not only to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Earnest's of the world, but it is important to our economy. It is the engine that creates jobs and creates capital, and grows the economy in a very positive way.
"When President Obama became President, we were ready. We were ready to put into the recovery package additional funding for small businesses. But as Administrator Echols mentioned, this ran out in May. And in June, we were ready, and passed the bill in the House and are waiting to pass it in the Senate and I feel pretty confident that it will happen. Again, it is important because small businesses are the engine of job creation and capital creation in our country. They have created two-thirds of the new jobs in the last 15 years. As we noted, small businesses continue to lack credit, and with tight lending standards, we have to make sure that the money that is intended to be put out is, and this bill does that.
"45 percent of small businesses are seeking loans, and they were unable to get their credit needs met last year. 45 percent. To address the challenge, the House passed the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act and the Small Business Job Tax Relief Bill. Two bills that leverage hundreds of billions of dollars, it has been said by our presenters here. This bill that is before the Senate costs just about $3 billion to guarantee about $30 billion, which will leverage several hundred billion -- the figures have been used, three or four hundred billion dollars -- in financial activities with small business community. That leverage hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for small business through a lending fund for small and medium-size community banks which focus on lending to small firms.
"The bill has incentives for lending and disincentives if you do not. It provides $2 billion for innovative state-lending programs supporting small business. It provides $3.3 billion for bipartisan tax incentives to spur investments in small businesses and the creation of new small businesses and grants small businesses tax penalty relief. It is estimated that these bills will create an estimated 450,000 to 500,000 jobs, and will save the taxpayers money, as the banks are expected to pay back these funds with interest. This is a lending bill to the banks so that they will lend to small businesses. We expect the Senate will take up a similar version of this legislation hopefully later this week, certainly in the next couple of weeks, and we hope to get a bill to the President's desk very soon.
"This bill would have been passed much sooner, except it needs 60 votes in the Senate, and you know what that means. We have 59 Democrats. We have one Republican who has now announced that he may vote for the bill, and that is a big breakthrough for us, one Republican, to vote for the Small Business Bill. That is why I said earlier there was this illusion that the Republicans were there for small businesses, but it was more illusion than a fact. Now we have worked all this time, it has taken more time than it should to get one Republican to vote for the Small Business Bill.
"The legislation builds on the accomplishments of this Congress and this Obama Administration. The funding in the Recovery Act and the health insurance reform bill will help businesses be more entrepreneurial. We want people to be entrepreneurial, to take risks, but we do not want them to take risks with their children's health because they cannot afford to have health care, or ca not afford to provide it for their employees. So this unleashes an entrepreneurial spirit, to the nth degree, and it also builds on legislation that we passed with net operating loss provisions and accelerated tax write-offs. So we looked at every aspect -- the need for credit, the need for the 7a loans funding to be increased, for the 405  ceiling to be increased -- every possible aspect of it, so that when we say to people, "Be entrepreneurial, take risk,' we respect that it is in the spirit of this great country -- our founders were entrepreneurs -- that you are taking risks that are balanced and are not at the expense of your children's health or of the security of the business that you are establishing.
"It is pretty exciting. As I said, nothing more optimistic than getting married. The stories that we hear and have heard from Scott Hauge over the years are remarkable about how people have put up everything they have, even used their homes, as collateral to start a small business, so much do they believe in what they can do. And we have to honor that belief, whether it is the use of the tax code, the Small Business Administration, or use of grants and assistance, or health policy, energy policy, which reduces the cost of health insurance and reduces the energy cost to these small businesses.
"They must succeed. Their success is the success of America. I could not be more excited to be here today, at The Culinary Edge, on this first day. What a beautiful, lovely kitchen, that appeals to me, and what a great idea. That is what is entrepreneurial. You take an idea, you turn it into a business, which creates jobs, which grows the economy, which improves the quality of life for your employees and the strength of the economy in our communities. So congratulations again, Aaron, on your success. I wish you much luck as you go forward, and I will be pleased to take any questions."