Velázquez Floor Statement on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

January 28, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – January 28, 2009 – House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives during debate on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Following are the Chairwoman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

 “I rise in support of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which will help restore stability to our weakened economy and drive growth within the small business community.

“Recovery efforts enacted last fall have not trickled down to Main Street. From mom and pop restaurants to technology startups, small firms of every kind are suffering. What we need now are solutions that work for entrepreneurs. After all, they are the ones that are promoting growth, and they are the ones with a proven track record of creating jobs. But unfortunately, a combination of restricted lending and tightening credit has stunted small business growth, preventing entrepreneurs from playing their historic role of economic catalyst.

“The Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help turn the tide. To begin with, 30 billion dollars in targeted tax measures will allow struggling startups to stay afloat. For example, the bill would repeal the burdensome 3 percent withholding requirement for government contractors, and allow for enhanced expensing for small business purchases. For cash-strapped entrepreneurs, these initiatives could make the difference between meeting payroll and making layoffs.

“The Recovery and Reinvestment Act also promises to thaw frozen SBA lending and increase guarantees for new loans. At the same time, it will reopen the secondary market, which has ground to halt. Taken all together, these initiatives will put 13 billion dollars into the hands of small businesses immediately.

“On their own, small business provisions within the Recovery and Reinvestment Act will keep and create over 400,000 jobs. At the end of the day, that’s what small businesses do best– create jobs. With unemployment at a 16-year-high, let’s not kid ourselves–there can be no recovery without job creation. That’s why it is so critical that entrepreneurs have the resources they need to not just survive the downturn, but to emerge from it stronger, and ready to bring our economy back on track.

“In a recent hearing, my committee met an entrepreneur whose 83-year-old family business had managed to weather the Great Depression, but wasn’t able to survive the current downturn. This past November, his business closed its doors for good. All across the country, countless small firms are facing that same fate.

“Lending from both commercial banks and the Small Business Administration has evaporated. As a result, small firms spanning every sector are folding at alarming rates. This is particularly troubling because they comprise 99 percent of American industry and employ half of the private sector workforce. When these businesses disappear, so do millions of American jobs.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act offers an opportunity to keep the jobs we still have, and to create hundreds of thousands more. Just as importantly, it is an investment in our nation’s entrepreneurs–the people creating jobs, driving innovation, and strengthening the backbone of our economy.”