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Opening Statements

Vice Chairman Luetkemeyer: “Conducting Oversight: Testimony from the Small Business Administrator”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a full committee hearing titled “Conducting Oversight: Testimony from the Small Business Administrator.”

Vice Chairman Luetkemeyer’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, and welcome to today’s hearing which will focus on conducting oversight of the Small Business Administration.

I’d like to start off by thanking Administrator Guzman for joining us today.

This hearing could not come at a more important time for Main Street America. Our nation’s small businesses are facing brutal economic headwinds, and it is our job to ensure they have a fighting chance at success.

This Committee’s job is to be Main Street’s voice in Washington, and part of that job is ensuring the SBA is functioning as intended. We must not forget that the sole purpose of the SBA is to help small businesses.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA was asked to step up in ways that were unprecedented. Unfortunately, we know from multiple audits that there were serious problems within the agency that led to unacceptable amounts of fraud.

What we know from countless investigations, without a doubt, the SBA needs to be right-sized. If you take one look at the agency, it is clear they are struggling with their current workload and are straying from their sole mission of helping Main Street. The way I see it, the SBA is absolutely not in a position to take on more responsibility.

I am extremely skeptical that the SBA is deserving of a 20% budget increase as there is no evidence the agency is operating effectively or efficiently.

Moreover, the SBA has repeatedly demonstrated they are not responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. They have delayed this Committee’s COVID lending investigation at every turn by waiting months to send over requested documents.

To make matters worse, the SBA has implemented an extremely minimal return-to-work policy. This is a direct slap in the face to our entrepreneurs, who don’t have the luxury of a day off or the ability to sit in their pajamas and work from home. The SBA undoubtedly needs to take a page out of Main Street’s book on this issue.

Given all the problems the SBA had during the pandemic, the ridiculous amount of waste that has been found, and a significant mismanagement issue, I do not see how the SBA can reasonably request more money. If they were a private company, no investor would put up funds for them.

The SBA is overwhelmed and cannot adequately achieve its mission. The answer for improvement is not more money, but the cutting of wasteful spending and unnecessary action. We must ensure the agency is capable of handling their current tasks before they expand into more areas.

I want to thank you all again for being here with us today, and I am looking forward to today’s conversation. I hope that today’s conversation will provide a pathway for the SBA to get back on track.

With that I will yield to our distinguished Ranking Member from New York, Ms. Velázquez.