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Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CLARKE of New York. Madam Chair, I rise today in support of additional funding for the Minority Business Development Agency. An offset for this amendment is by $5.3 million from the $79 million increase to the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

Madam Chair, minority firms currently provide 5.8 million people with employment, and we know that they have the untapped potential to create even more. That's why, Madam Chair, Ms. Chu of California, Mr. Cohen of Tennessee, who are cosponsors of this amendment, and myself, along with 33 of our colleagues, sent a letter to the CJS Subcommittee in March seeking MBDA funding levels at $34 million, in direct response to the then-planned closure of the MBDA regional offices and to expand MBDA's network of business centers.

In 2010, MBDA secured $1.6 billion in contracts and $2.2 billion in financing for minority firms. That same year, they realized a 125 percent return on their investment.

Our Nation's economy will not and cannot fully recover until all small businesses are active participants in a robust recovery. The MBDA's mission of supporting minority businesses is absolutely fundamental to the overall recovery of the economy.

Madam Chair, I yield at this time to my colleague, the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).


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