Velazquez chastises GOP on small business

Congress is about to adjourn with very little accomplished to help small businesses, the ranking Democratic member of the House Small Business Committee said today.

At a news conference, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) listed 31 bills that failed or are still under debate, including the Small Business Administration reauthorization bill. She blamed the Bush administration and the Republican congressional leadership for failing to support small companies.

Both Congress and the Bush administration have proclaimed their support for small business, she said. "But the rhetoric is much different from the reality," she said. "The small-business Congress quickly turned into a big-business Congress."

Measures that failed include a bill that would have required government agencies to spend at least 25 percent of their contracting dollars with small businesses, an increase from the current 23 percent goal. And although a rule was published in October limiting the practice of collecting several small contracts into a single large one — called contract bundling — no contracts have been unbundled, she said.

Velazquez said that Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.), chair of the committee, has led the body in a bipartisan spirit. Manzullo did not attend the press conference.

"It's a disgrace that in our Small Business Committee, we worked in a bipartisan way, we held so many hearings and nothing happened," Velazquez said. "We were productive and passed many bills out of committee, and nothing happened."

Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) also blamed the administration. "Small business has an enemy in this country, and that is big business," he said. "Big business that wants to do the work that small business is willing and able to do, and an administration that is willing to do the bidding of big business."

Small companies lose out on federal contracts for the same reason, Case said. "They don't have the power in downtown [Washington, D.C.,] of big business."

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