Washington Report

Dispatches from Capitol Hill

Small Business Owners Get a Lifeline

Confident businessman holding piggy bankSmall business owners received some holiday cheer from lawmakers when the Senate included $125 million to extend a provision in the Small Business Administration Recovery Act in the massive Defense Department appropriations package that was approved Wednesday.

Though Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who chairs the House Small Business Committee, cast one of the 34 nay votes, that didn’t stop her from issuing a statement approving the funding for the SBA funding.

“The passage of the Department of Defense appropriations bill and the latest jobs package will provide vital funding for SBA to continue offering affordable small business credit,” she said. “Since their enactment earlier this year, these reduced-cost loans have put nearly $14 billion of capital into the small business economy.”

Velazquez wasn’t the only Democrat to vote against the bill, which was approved 395-34. In fact, 23 others joined her, including Congressional Black Caucus members Keith Ellison of Minnesota; John Lewis of Georgia; Donald Payne of New Jersey; and New Yorkers Ed Towns and Yvette Clarke, who also sits on the small business committee.

They voted no because they disagreed with the war funding aspect of the bill. Interestingly enough, Velazquez and Clarke both voted for the Defense appropriations bill in July, which included lots of pork but no SBA funding. A Velazquez aide said that vote was to allow the legislative process to move forward, but when it came to a bill that would actually be signed by the president, she couldn’t say yes to war.

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