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Public Statements

Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CANTWELL. Madam President, I know we will be voting soon on these issues and moving forward on the small business legislation. That is what we are really here to do today, to pass legislation that is going to help Main Street. This is a bill that is long overdue. I know once a train is leaving the station, once legislation has cleared the hurdles and is going to pass, a lot of people want to then add other things onto that legislation. Those are some of the issues being discussed here this morning. But the important thing is not to hold up legislation for small businesses one more day. Let's not delay the need that Main Street has to get access to capital to help small businesses grow our economy.

In Washington State, we have lost thousands of jobs. Yet if every small business in Washington State had the ability to hire one person as a result of getting access to capital, we would nearly wipe out our unemployment since this recession. It is critical for us not to delay this legislation any further, to move it ahead, and to make sure we are getting capital into those small businesses.

I know some of my colleagues have critiqued this legislation, saying they will not support it. I know we have had at least two Members on the other side who support this legislation moving forward. So, yes, I do call that bipartisan. I appreciate the fact that those two legislators had enough courage to say this was important to their constituents. In the August recess, they listened to small businesses, and they knew this was important to get done.

There is a lot of misinformation out there in the eleventh hour about how perhaps certain people weren't supportive of the legislation. My colleague from Oregon has a list that keeps growing every single day. It is now four or five pages of different organizations that support moving forward on this legislation. I haven't heard any of them advocating that we hold it up one more day or send it back to the committee to add more things to it. No doubt the discussion we are having about the extenders package of other policies should happen. If we get more bipartisan support, we will get those things done and we won't have them held up.

But if we go back to this basic issue we are trying to address, it is really about the implosion that happened on Wall Street that took Main Street down with it and about correcting that and moving forward today in a way that will help small business help our economy recover.

I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will look at this bill overall, look at the tax credits given to small businesses, the fact that the depreciation rates in investment in new manufacturing and equipment can help small businesses be competitive, and that they will look at the expansion of the SBA programs that were enthusiastically endorsed by lots of different organizations--by banks, by lenders, by individual businesses--because they know that program that was enhanced in January to help give more flexibility was a huge success. When it expired in June, we saw a falloff in the type of investment and job creation we need to have.

This is about a philosophy. If my colleagues think our economy is about helping those huge businesses at the top or from Wall Street and that is somehow going to trickle down, then let's just keep doing business as usual. But if Members believe this is about helping small businesses grow, which is 75 percent of job growth in America, then let's get this bill off the floor today and get this legislation passed.

I thank the Chair and yield the floor.


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