WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a hybrid hearing titled, "SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs."
Ranking Member Luetkemeyer's opening statement as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for calling this important hearing with Mr. Madrid, Associate Administrator of the SBA Office of Entrepreneurial Development. As Members of the Committee, it is crucial that we hear directly from SBA officials on the implementation and oversight of the SBA’s programs.
The success of our entrepreneurs determines the success of our nation’s economy. Entrepreneurs are not only our nation’s innovators and job creators, but they are also the key to advancing America’s economic opportunities. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs continue to be hamstrung by the Democrats who are forcing through increased government mandates, misguided entitlement programs, and reckless spending.
For months, the Democrats’ failed policies and unemployment incentives have paid Americans to stay home and not go back to work, which has hindered economic growth for small businesses in our communities. As reported in the August NFIB Small Business Economic Trends survey, they found that 50 percent of small business owners have at least one unfilled job opening. Despite 8.4 million Americans who were unemployed in August, there were 10.9 million job openings from coast to coast.
Additionally, staffing shortages and supply chain disruptions are hindering business operations and limiting small businesses from reaching their full potential. The NFIB Research Center’s September COVID-19 survey found that half of small business owners reported supply chain disruptions significantly impacting their business.
Main Street U.S.A. continues to be left with the bill for President Biden’s reckless “tax and spend” agenda. As inflation hits a 30-year high, it is no surprise that a recent Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses survey found that 81 percent of small business owners say inflationary pressures have increased since June; 84 percent have seen an increase in operating costs; and 74 percent report inflationary pressures having negatively impacted their business’s financial health.
As the Republican Leader of this Committee, I appreciate the resources and training that the SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Resource Partners continue to provide to small businesses, especially as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I also look forward to learning more about how these programs are supporting small businesses as they navigate the previously mentioned government mandates, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and inflationary pressures.
However, I remain concerned that taxpayer dollars are not being used wisely after several Office of Inspector General reports found that the SBA did not provide effective oversight of both the SCORE and Women’s Business Center’s programs.
I am also concerned that the Community Navigator Pilot Program is duplicative of current resources. This program was signed into law in March, yet not a single grant has been awarded and no services have been deployed to assist to small businesses to date. Instead of creating a new program with new providers, I believe that resources would have been better spent ramping up Small Business Development Centers and existing resource partners. This should be thoroughly examined.
Beyond the SBA resources, numerous private-sector partners – including non-profit organizations and companies – exist to advocate for entrepreneurs, provide mentorship, increase awareness of financing opportunities, and offer support to innovators as they start and expand their businesses. The SBA programs must be examined closely to ensure duplication does not occur and that waste, fraud, and abuse is prevented.
Mr. Madrid, I thank you all for being here today, and I look forward to working together on effective, economical, and efficient policies to support our entrepreneurs.