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Small-business forum called 'sham'

By Staff
Huntsville Times
November 20, 2009

Group says redirect $100B in contractsfrom big companies

A White House small-business forum is being criticized by the American Small Business League as "a sham" because the group says the Obama administration has failed to honor its promises to small businesses.

The forum held Wednesday included Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills; Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and other policymakers, lenders and small-business owners.

The forum explored ideas and strategies for expanding access to financing for small businesses.

"Now that we have stabilized Wall Street, we must jump-start Main Street," Landrieu said. "We can do this by making sure small businesses have access to the capital they need to keep their businesses alive and growing during these tough times."

The lack of access to money has drawn the criticism from the ASBL. Particularly, the group said, diverting "federal small business contracts to corporate giants."

"This is a sham small business forum intended to mislead the media, and the people of the United States with PR as opposed to action," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said in a prepared statement.

He also said the topic of diverting money was not discussed.

"As we predicted, President Obama's forum ignored what the SBA inspector general has referred to as the SBA's No. 1 challenge for five consecutive years," Chapman said. "We need to quit listening to what he says, and look at what he does.

"Despite the commotion and rhetoric the Obama administration has stirred up regarding its small-businesses forum, it looks like it was just another publicity stunt.

"I'd love to see someone from the mainstream media ask President Obama on national television why he is continuing to give billions of dollars a month in federal small-business contracts to Fortune 500 firms."

After the forum, Landrieu said Congress needs to find additional funding for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act programs. She said, if passed, the Small Business Access to Capital Act increases small-business loan limits from $2 million to as high as $5.5 million.

"Not only will this change spur small-business growth and aid in our nation's continued economic recovery, over the long term, SBA estimates that raising the limits will be budget neutral," she said. "We cannot wait to make these needed changes.

"That is why I am working with (Senate) Ranking Member (Olympia) Snowe, R-Maine, to pass legislation in the Senate, so our small businesses will have every opportunity to continue to grow, create American jobs and keep our nation competitive in the global arena."

However, Chapman said a House bill would stop the diversion of federal small-business contracts to large corporations and redirect up to $100 billion a year in federal small-business contracts to small businesses in America's middle-class economy.

"If President Obama really wanted to help small businesses," Chapman said, "he would support H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act of 2009."

Source:  http://www.al.com/business/huntsvilletimes/index.ssf?/base/business/1258712117267650.xml&coll=1



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