Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined senior Members of Congress and small business owners and advocates at an enrollment ceremony at the Capitol this afternoon to sign H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act, and send it to President Obama for his signature into law. The House passed the bill earlier this afternoon by a vote of 237 to 187, with only one Republican supporting the measure; the Senate passed the legislation on September 16. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
"Good afternoon. I have often said to my colleagues that one of the most optimistic steps a person can take, except maybe getting married, is to start a small business. It is risk taking. It is entrepreneurial. It is in the spirit of our great country. And today, we celebrate that great spirit.
"I am proud to be joined by small business leaders and small business advocates and small businessmen and women. They represent the millions of small businesses nationwide that are the backbone of the American economy.
"In their name, today, Mr. Hoyer, our distinguished Majority Leader; Mr. Clyburn, our Majority Whip; the chairs of our Steering and Policy Committee, Chairwoman Rosa De Lauro and Chairman George Miller; the chairman of one of the committees of jurisdiction on this bill, Chairman Sandy Levin.
"In the name of America's small business people, we will send to President Obama legislation that will unleash hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for America's small businesses, create half a million new jobs, and provide billions of dollars in tax relief. And we are doing it in a fiscally responsible way--creating 500,000 jobs without adding to the deficit. It is paid for.
"Earlier this month, I joined, once again, over and over again all of us join our small business owners in our own districts to hear about the challenges they are facing. They told me, once again, about difficulties obtaining capital they need to keep their doors open and to grow. Indeed, 45 percent of small businesses seeking loans were unable to get their credit needs met last year.
"I heard that day from a longstanding leader for San Francisco's and California's small businesses, Scott Hauge. He said, "All we are asking for is this: lend us the capital so that we can create the jobs. It's what we do best.'
"Today, we are doing just that: unleashing $300 billion in lending to small businesses and offering more than $12 billion in tax incentives to help small businesses grow, hire, and fuel our economy.
"The most eloquent voices in this debate have been the small business owners themselves. I am pleased that we have two such small business owners here. Frequently we talk about them from the podium, but I want you to hear from them themselves. First, we will hear from Mariana Huberman, an entrepreneur from right here in Washington D.C. And after Mariana, Todd McCracken will join us and tell us of his experience and why this legislation is important.
"Small businesses, as we know, are the backbone of our economy: they have created two-thirds of all the new jobs created over the last 15 years. Today, we are helping small businesses become what they have been all along but even stronger engines of our recovery.
"Shortly, I will sign the bill, but first we are going to hear from Mariana. Mariana, please join us. Mariana Huberman--owner of a UPS store in D.C."