Chellie M Pingree

Small Business Financing And Investment Act Of 2009 - Oct. 29, 2009

Chellie M Pingree
October 29, 2009— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, H. Res. 875 provides for consideration of H.R. 3854, the Small Business Financing and Investment Act of 2009, under a structured rule. The rule self-executes an amendment that removes direct spending from the bill, thereby making the underlying bill PAYGO compliant. The bill makes in order 16 amendments printed in the Rules Committee report. The amendments are debatable for 10 minutes each, except for the manager's amendment which is debatable for 20 minutes.

Additionally, the rule provides authority for the Speaker to entertain motions to suspend the rules through Friday of this week for a measure addressing unemployment compensation.

Madam Speaker, today we will pass a very important piece of legislation that will directly help small businesses from around our country. H.R. 3854, the Small Business Financing and Investment Act of 2009, increases the loan limits available for small businesses through the SBA; it promotes increased private investment in small businesses; it provides increased resources for businesses working in the field of renewable energy; and it supports our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking the capital they need to start or to grow their businesses.

What this bill does beyond anything else is provide much-needed support for Main Street to help small entrepreneurs grow, save, and create jobs. As President Obama said last week, supporting small businesses needs to be our highest priority because when small businesses are succeeding, America succeeds.

When I return to my home State of Maine, I hear from small businesses week after week that access to capital is one of the most difficult challenges that they face. The credit market has been drying up, and small businesses have been hit hard.

Earlier this year, my office hosted an event focused specifically on connecting small businesses with capital, including SBA programs. The response was overwhelming. We had hundreds of small businesses RSVP to attend, so many that we needed to reserve an overflow room to accommodate the demand. These were businesses of all types and sizes, and many of them had driven hours to come to the workshop. They came to this meeting because they felt they had nowhere else to turn.

SBA programs have been an important resource for businesses during this economic downturn, and this bill will take important steps to increase access to and the success of these programs. I want to take a minute to give you a couple of examples from my State of how SBA loans are working to support small businesses.

A company named ALCOM was established by Tom Sturtevant and his stepson, Trapper Clark, in 2006 and is one of the largest manufacturers of aluminum trailers in the northeast. With an SBA loan under the 504 program, this business was able to construct a new, 70,000-square foot manufacturing facility with much-needed space for expansion while enhancing the flow of inventory, and they were able to hire 15 new workers. This is a family-owned business with good-paying manufacturing jobs that has been able not only to survive in the current economic climate, but grow thanks to an SBA loan.

Julia McClure opened Sweets & Meats, a market in Rockland, Maine, earlier this year, thanks to financing she received through the SBA's 7(a) program. Women-owned enterprises is the fastest growing business group, and this grocery store, specializing in local meats and produce, is a great example of how the SBA has worked to support these entrepreneurs.

Casco Bay Molding in Sanford, Maine, is an injection molding company founded by Andy Powell. After working to develop a customer relationship with Flotation Technologies, another Maine-based company and a world leader in buoyance systems, these two companies worked to design and implement a new line of proprietary, deepwater oil and gas exploration and harvesting equipment.

This new demand meant that Casco Bay Molding needed to upgrade to compete with much larger molding shops in the region. With a loan under the SBA 504 program, this small business was able to upgrade their equipment, meet the demand, and employ five additional people in their community in good-paying manufacturing jobs. Furthermore, by helping Casco Bay Molding to succeed and grow, this loan supported other local businesses, like Fiber Materials, providing them the benefits of an expert injection molding operation within close proximity to their manufacturing facility.

This is a great example of the exponential impact that investment in small businesses has in all of our communities, one that expands small businesses, creates new, good-paying jobs, rewards ingenuity, and supports Main Street through this economic downturn.

The problem is there are not enough of these success stories. Small businesses are desperate for credit to expand and grow, and SBA programs, as they currently stand, simply cannot meet this demand. That is why this bill is so important. It will expand and develop these vital programs, including the 7(a) and 504 programs, to better meet the needs of all small businesses.

Mr. Speaker, all across this country, small businesses have struggled during these difficult times through no fault of their own. They didn't cause this economic crisis, but they can help to lead us out of it, and we have to help them access the funding they need to survive, grow and to expand their businesses. The jobs they create today will bring economic growth and prosperity to our communities tomorrow if we just give them the chance.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill today and the underlying bill. As Rumery's Boatyard, another SBA loan recipient from Maine told me, it is imperative that we support our small businesses and ensure that they are ready to go once the economy fully recovers.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I want to again highlight what we are considering here today.

This is a bill that will support small businesses when they need it most--access to the financing they need to survive, to grow, to expand, and to create the jobs that will drive our economy. I know this is essential as I have heard from businesses throughout the 125 towns in my congressional district.

In fact, I have owned small businesses for most of my adult life. For many years, I owned a business that sold our products around the country and grew to employ 10 people in a town with just 350 residents. I currently own an inn and a restaurant that uses produce grown in my community and seafood caught locally. I know what it is to be the last person to lock the doors at the end of the day, to meet a payroll, and to argue with the bank about borrowing money to expand.

Mr. Speaker, I have been lucky to own a small business which has been an important part of my community and which has provided jobs, but I never would have been able to survive without access to the investment the business has needed to grow.

When facing the economic climate that we currently do, it is vital that we do everything in our power to support the small businesses that create 64 percent of the new jobs in this country, that comprise more than 99 percent of all employer companies, and that are the backbone of the communities that we live in.

This bill is an important step in supporting those small businesses--with $44 billion in lending that will help save or create 1.3 million jobs each year and by ensuring that small businesses have the necessary capital to stay in business and to expand as the economy recovers. This bill is more than simply an investment in small business; it is an investment in American job growth.

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