August 10, 2011
Petaluma, Calif. – Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that could eliminate all federal programs to assist small businesses, as well as women-owned, veteran-owned and minority-owned firms. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced S. 1116, titled the “Department of Commerce and the Workforce Consolidation Act,” which would combine the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce, a move that could devastate U.S. job creation.
Republicans have attempted to abolish the SBA for nearly three decades. President Ronald Reagan tried to shut the agency down on two separate occasions. Senate Democrats, led by Senator Carl Levin, prevented President Reagan’s efforts to close the SBA. (http://americansmallbusinessleague.blogspot.com/2010/01/republicans-push-to-end-federal.html; http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961270,00.html)
Again in 1996, the Republican controlled House of Representatives attempted to eliminate the agency. Their proposed legislation would have closed the SBA and brought an end to federal programs established to assist America's 27 million small businesses. (http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=6&type=0)
Republican President George W. Bush removed the SBA Administrator from a Cabinet-level position and slashed the SBA budget by more than 60 percent. In 2008, the SBA budget was less than half of what it was under the Reagan Administration. (http://www.inc.com/magazine/20030901/sba.html; http://www.biztimes.com/news/2005/12/9/half-full-or-half-empty)
As Senator Burr’s bill works its way through committee, Congress holds the fate of our nation’s chief job creators. According to the US Census Bureau, small businesses create more than 90 percent of all net new jobs. 98 percent of all US firms have less than 100 employees. These firms employ more than half of the private sector workforce, are responsible for half of GDP and more than 90 percent of all US exports. (http://archive.sba.gov/advo/research/rs359.pdf; http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/7495/8420)
As early as January 2006, American Small Business League (ASBL) President Lloyd Chapman predicted that Republican leaders would try to effectively close the SBA by combining it with the Commerce Department. (http://www.asbl.com/showmedia.php?id=148)
“The SBA represents small businesses and the Commerce Department represents the largest corporations in America,” Chapman said. “Their interests in federal contracting are diametrically opposed. This is a ploy by Republicans to end federal programs for small businesses, women-owned, minority owned and veteran owned firms and divert 100 percent of all federal contracts to their Fortune 500 backers. It will force small businesses all across the country to close their doors and kill millions of jobs.”