Magazine article American Banker

Lawmakers Pan SBA Budget

Magazine article American Banker

Lawmakers Pan SBA Budget

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's budget proposal for the Small Business Administration came under renewed fire Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The House Small Business Committee rejected the Bush administration's call for a smaller Small Business Administration budget.

The president's fiscal 2008 budget would reduce the SBA's discretionary spending authority by 25.6%, to $464 million. However, the agency plans to make up some of that cut by transferring unobligated funds appropriated in fiscal 2007.

In a letter to the House Budget Committee, the Small Business Committee said it is concerned that the cuts will damage the agency's effectiveness. The letter, approved by a party line vote of 12 to 8, outlines the committee's recommendations, such as a rejection of the Bush administration's plan to impose new fees to make more programs self-funding. Those include the SBA's Microloan program and its Secondary Market Guarantee program for lenders that want to pool and sell loans.

"The administration's request is simply not the right priorities for the future of our small businesses," Chairwoman Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., said. "The budget simply does not do enough to help our businesses face the challenges of the 21st century."

At the Senate Small Business Committee's first hearing on the SBA's budget, Chairman John F. Kerry admonished SBA Administrator Steven C. Preston.

"Even your testimony notes that the request for $464 million in new budget authority still represents more than a 30% decrease in funding to the agency over the last six years," the Massachusetts Democrat said. …

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