Washington Report: Updates from Capitol Hill

Panel explores ways to increase access to capital; Small business jobs bills; climate change; diversity on the Hill

Senate Committee Urges Support for Small Business Jobs Bills

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship is one of those rare congressional panels that frequently produce bipartisan support for several measures. In recent weeks, it has passed out of committee a package of small business bills for which Sen. Mary Landrieu, who chairs the panel, is now seeking broader support.

“I’m hoping that as the package continues to develop and take more finite shape that we maintain that kind of bipartisan support that we have coming out of the small business committee,” Landrieu told reporters this week.

The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009 (S.2869) would increase the loan limit cap on small business and allow for refinancing of commercial real estate debt. The committee estimates that if passed, within a year the bill would increase small business lending by $5 billion.

A bill to expand trade opportunities for small businesses, the Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act of 2009 (S.2862), would make available more than $1 billion in export capital. Landrieu, who chairs the committee, said that the measure also would provide counseling to help firms figure out the rules and regulations of exporting goods.

Another measure, the Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2010 (S.2928), would increase contracting opportunities. Landrieu says that by increasing the number of contracts awarded to small business by just 1% would create more than 100,000 new jobs.

We have provided tax cuts to help pay for the cost of health care, tax cuts so companies can invest in advanced manufacturing, and provided access to much-needed capital. Together these incentives are supporting entrepreneurs across the country, which is critical to helping our economy and creating new jobs,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), who sits on the Senate Finance Committee. The two panels will be working together to produce another specific small business jobs bill that will build on President Barack Obama’s recommendations.

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