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Congress Approves Temporary SBA Reauthorization

On March 31, the House approved, by voice vote, a bill (H.R. 4062) to temporarily reauthorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) and its programs through June 4, 2004. The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent on April 1. It will now go to the White House for President Bush’s signature.

In September, the Senate approved a three-year reauthorization (S. 1375) of the SBA (see The Source, 9/26/03); however, the House has not yet acted on the bill. While SBA programs and activities that receive an appropriation through the FY2004 Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill were extended upon enactment of the FY2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-199), there are several SBA programs, such as the 504 loan program and the Small Business Investment Company program, that do not receive an appropriation and were set to expire at the end of 2003. A previous temporary extension of SBA programs will expire on April 2.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) lauded passage of the bill stating, “With H.R. 4062, we pave the way for manufacturers and small businesses everywhere. With this bill, we will make sure small businesses have access to capital. With this bill, we make sure small businesses can invest in their ventures, purchase new equipment, expand and create jobs. With this bill, we will be giving our economy the shot in the arm it needs right now; and with this bill, we also give new hope to the 8.2 million unemployed Americans that something is being done to transform the current jobless environment into one of work and prosperity.”

Focusing her comments on the SBA 7(a) loan program, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said the program “has proven that a small amount of government backing can greatly enhance private-sector financing for small businesses, and that the economic benefits reverberate throughout the economy at large. Small businesses create almost 75 percent of the net new jobs in the economy. The 7(a) program harnesses this power and has helped small businesses to create or retain nearly 2 million more jobs in the last five years.”

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