Dems slam GOP for not helping small business

Democrats on the House Small Business Committee released a report today that criticizes Congress for not passing critical legislation to address some of the challenges entrepreneurs are facing.

The report follows a similar study the group released in July. The lawmakers' Scorecard VII found that in fiscal 2005, agencies coded nearly $12 billion as small-business awards when they actually went to large businesses.

The new report states that Congress failed to pass 90 percent of the legislation that would help small businesses overcome challenges. “From rising health care costs to concerns over immigration laws and their ability to access assistance through the Small Business Administration -- little, if anything, has been achieved over the past two years that will help small businesses cope with these challenges,” the report states.

Although Congress has not addressed several high-profile issues for entrepreneurs, such as health care and immigration, it also has not passed many seemingly benign initiatives for small businesses, such as the reauthorization of SBA and measures for regulatory reduction, the report states.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), ranking member on the committee, said the report shows “there is little, if anything, to say in terms of accomplishments for this nation’s small businesses. It is clear that the needs of our main job creators are simply not a priority for the Bush administration – or the Republican-controlled Congress.”

The report reviewed a number of bills that Congress touted as wins for small businesses but, in reality, did little to benefit entrepreneurs.

Velázquez unveiled the report at a news conference in the Capitol.

The report found that small-business advocates cited 196 legislative initiatives during the 109th Congress that could have aided entrepreneurs if lawmakers had enacted them. The year-end evaluation examines 11 critical issues, including health care, immigration, access to capital, federal contracts, energy, technology and international trade.

The report found 175 of the 196 bills have not been brought up for a vote in Congress. Forty-five percent of the bills examined were bipartisan, and 85 percent had Republican lead sponsors. The Democrats said this illustrates that although Republicans control the White House, Senate and House, they cannot pass their own small-business bills.

“This report illustrates that little is being done in the Republican-controlled Congress to address their concerns,” Velázquez said.

She said the report clearly is not good news for the economy, “which relies on the success and vitality of the small-business sector.”

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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