Karen G. Mills

<p>
Administrator<br />
U.S. Small Business Administration</p>

Chairman Nye and other distinguished Members of this Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify about the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its small business procurement related programs and how they relate to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).

Chair Landrieu, Ranking Member Snowe, and Members of the Committee, I am honored to testify before you. Today, the SBA’s top priority is to implement the Recovery Act and put our programs into the hands of America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses so they can lead our economic recovery, as they have done so many times over the course of our nation’s history.

Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Collins and Members of the Committee, it is an honor to testify before you. I am pleased to be here to support the President’s 2010 Budget for the SBA, but first I would like to briefly update you on the SBA’s progress with the Recovery Act.

Thank you, Senator Landrieu. The people of Louisiana and America’s small business community are fortunate to have such a strong voice for them in the U.S. Senate.

It is also a pleasure to be here with Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman Fred Hochberg of the Export-Import Bank, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Patty Sefcik at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and everyone who has joined us today.

Truly, it is going to take all of us working together to “keep America competitive,” as the title of this hearing states.

Chairwoman Velazquez and distinguished members of the Committee: It is an honor to be testifying before you for the first time as the Administrator of the SBA.
Given the Obama Administration’s mandate to eliminate and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in Government programs, I am pleased to have the opportunity to testify at my first of the three annual Committee hearings on this topic. I consider this to be one of my most important responsibilities as Administrator.

Thank you, Ranking Member Snowe and Senator Shaheen. The small business communities in Maine, New Hampshire, and throughout the country are fortunate to have such strong voices for them in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to hearing from some of those small business owners today.

I am pleased to share the SBA’s efforts to help small businesses survive and grow during these difficult times.

Thank you, Senator Shaheen and Ranking Member Snowe. The small business communities in New Hampshire, Maine, and throughout the country are fortunate to have such strong voices for them in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to hearing from some of those small business owners today.

I am pleased to share the SBA’s efforts to help small businesses survive and grow during these difficult times.

Thank you, Chair Landrieu, Ranking Member Snowe and members of the Committee. It’s an honor to testify before you on the importance of health insurance reform for America’s small businesses.

For decades, surveys of small business owners have shown that access to affordable health care is their number-one concern. For example, since 1986 the NFIB survey has ranked health insurance costs at the top of a list of 75 issues facing small businesses.

Chairwoman Velazquez, Ranking Member Graves and distinguished members of the Committee.

Again, it’s an honor to testify before you. Thank you for your continued efforts to help America’s small business community survive, grow, and lead us out of this recession.

I want to thank the Chairwoman for speaking at yesterday’s Small Business Financing Forum. You said two things that I thought really resonated. First, you said “access to capital equals access to opportunity.” That statement rings true given our efforts to help small businesses find credit and create jobs.

Thank you, Chairwoman Velazquez, Chairman Frank, and Members of both Committees.

Small businesses continue to have problems getting access to capital. We know this is a situation that must be fixed. Small businesses created about 65 percent of the net new private jobs over the past 15 years, so we need a robust small business jobs plan that addresses these credit gaps.
We’ve already taken an important step forward. I want to thank Congress for passing the Recovery Act and the extension of our 90 percent guaranty and reduced fee provisions.

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