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Democrats Call for Action on SBA Budget

By Keith Girard
June 12, 2006

Weeks ago the budget bill for the Small Business Administration abruptly vanished under an avalanche of last-minute amendments. Now some lawmakers think it's time to send out a search party.

Rep Nydia M. Velázquez, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, is calling for an open process to review the legislation. The committee has held only one hearing on the bill at a time when the agency needs a massive overhaul, she said.

"Utilizing an open process will allow the committee to work in a bipartisan manner to improve the underlying bill and the agency's programs," Velázquez added.

Problems began when the bill failed to address numerous shortcomings in the agency, which had been highlighted in reports by the Government Accountability Office and SBA Inspector General. That led Democrats to file more than 50 amendments.

Committee Chairman Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., abruptly postponed a markup session, and the bill hasn't been seen or heard of since.



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