Dems criticize small-business cuts

President Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget eliminates funding for the parts of the Small Business Innovation Research grant program, along with eliminating or cutting funds for 35 other small business programs, leading House Democrats to criticize the plan.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, released a report today outlining the effects of the Bush budget on programs that benefit small companies.

"This budget is not about getting our nation back on track but about stubbornly sticking to economic policies that have not worked and are to the detriment of so many in this country," she said.

Although Republican majority members of the committee acknowledged the cuts, they support the budget request, said a spokesman for committee chairman Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) In a budget report approved by a committee voice vote, Manzullo wrote: "The Committee believes generally that the President's proposed [fiscal] 2005 budget request is helpful to small-business owners. Given the budgetary constraints, with a few exceptions, small businesses should be pleased."

Velazquez said that the release of Bush's budget request is the start of the budget process and pledged to fight the planned cuts.

"This president has said that he is in touch with our country and its needs," she said. "This budget shows that he is not."

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