Velázquez Urges House Republicans to Vote to Reopen Government

Jan 9, 2019
Chairwoman of Small Business Committee Delivers Floor Speech Calling for End to Shutdown
Washington, D.C.— This afternoon, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee spoke on the House floor urging her Republican colleagues to end the shutdown by joining House Democrats in supporting H.R. 264, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which includes funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA). Below are her remarks, as prepared for delivery. 
“Mr. Speaker, we are now 18 days into the Trump Shutdown and America’s small businesses are feeling the strain. Each day that this political stunt continues, entrepreneurs lose out on nearly $90 million dollars in affordable capital through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) lending program alone. That is 192 small firms per day going without the resources they need to grow and create new jobs. 
“As Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, I am deeply concerned that President Trump is holding America’s small business sector hostage as he demands funding for a cruel and ineffective border wall. 
“Contrary to the President’s remarks, this shutdown isn’t just hurting workers who collect a paycheck in blue states, it’s impacts are being felt on Main Streets across this country. 
“For three weeks now, the SBA—the only federal agency dedicated to our nation’s entrepreneurs— has ceased its core operations. Make no mistake about it, this puts hundreds of millions of dollars out of reach for small businesses who seek to utilize these services.  For small firms operating in the federal marketplace, the shutdown could cause them to sacrifice nearly 7,000 contracts worth over $300 million dollars each day.  
“Unfortunately, the consequences don’t end here. For countless small businesses – from those surrounding our national parks to small grocers who accept SNAP– a lack of customers is leading to lost revenue and the bills are adding up. 
“Let’s also not forget what happened to our economy after Republicans shut down the government in 2013. Small business hiring and consumer confidence fell, the IRS was unable to provide taxpayer assistance, and our economy lost billions because of disrupted government spending. But what this shutdown really comes down to is a President who time and again has sought to divide us by labeling immigrants as the enemy. I am here to tell you that welcoming immigrants is not just a founding principle of this nation, it’s good economic policy. 
“Immigrants are among America’s most successful entrepreneurs, starting about a quarter of all new businesses. And Dreamers, whose future our President continues to jeopardize, start businesses at rates higher than the overall public. 
“Instead of talking about building walls, let’s put America’s entrepreneurial sector back to work. By passing these appropriations bills today, we can reopen SBA and other vital federal agencies that serve the people we’re all elected to represent. I strongly urge my Republican colleagues to join House Democrats and vote to reopen our government. Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.”
A video of her speech is available here.