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Chairwoman Velázquez’s Statement in Support of the Build Back Better Act Before the Rules Committee

Washington, D.C.— Yesterday, during a House Rules Committee hearing on the Build Back Better Act, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) delivered these remarks in favor of the small business provisions in the Build Back Better Act: 

As Prepared for Delivery

       “Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and members of the Rules Committee.  I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today. As you know, the pandemic has devastated small businesses across the country. To build our economy back to pre-pandemic levels and beyond, we must invest in our nation’s entrepreneurs.
       To that end, the small business title of the Build Back Better Act will make a $5 billion investment in SBA programs that go beyond recovery and provide long-term solutions to perennial challenges. This title invests nearly $2 billion for SBA to make direct loans of less than $150,000 and targeted loans of $1 million to government contractors and small manufacturers. 
       Lending reports have shown that 7(a) loans under $150,000 have decreased by almost 53 percent over the past five years.  This investment in SBA’s direct lending program will fill those gaps in our lending market and ensure underrepresented entrepreneurs have the capital they need to launch and grow their businesses.
       Most importantly, SBA will continue to work with mission lenders to leverage the inroads that were made over the past year to reach entrepreneurs that have long been left behind. 
The Build Back Better Act invests more than $60 million to enhance the Small Business Investment Company Program, better known as SBIC. Since its inception, the SBIC program has provided more than $100 billion in capital to entrepreneurs across the country.
       Today’s bill invests in the Emerging Managers Program, pairing new fund managers with highly experienced fund managers for expert guidance and advice. Turning to contracting, this package provides more than $100 million to increase federal procurement opportunities for small businesses and ensures small contractors can take advantage of the many projects sure to come from the infrastructure package.
       Additionally, $1 Billion is dedicated to establishing a national network of Uplift incubators to spur economic development in underrepresented communities. The uplift incubators will offer a wide variety of services, including incubator spaces, mentorship, and networking opportunities, for Main Street businesses, as well as technical assistance for small government contractors. 
       The investments are aimed at reversing the 40 percent decline in the number of small businesses participating in our federal contracting programs over the past decade and boosting entrepreneurship. As we all know, innovation is a key to success, and we invest nearly $200 million to expand the Growth Accelerator Competition Fund to enable gifted entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to the market and accelerate their growth.
       Our title provides capital to cooperatives and other employee-owned entities that play a large part in our communities and invests $105 million in providing a path to entrepreneurship for formerly incarcerated individuals to give them an opportunity to become job creators.
       In closing, small businesses are the engines that drive economic growth, employing more than 60 million Americans. They fund local tax bases, create good paying jobs, and reinvest in our cities and towns.  Put simply, when they are successful, our country is successful. This comprehensive package makes transformative investments in SBA that will put entrepreneurs all across the country on the road to long-term growth and long-lasting success.” 


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