Today, U.S. Senator
Cantwell specifically pointed to the importance of the 504 Debt Refinance Program that helps small businesses unlock their own equity to create and sustain jobs. In her conversation with Contreras-Sweet, Cantwell also highlighted the successful State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program that has helped small businesses in
The statements came during a
View a video of today's exchange here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u0TGzl7HUs.
"One of the things in that Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 was the 504 refinancing program and that refinancing expired in 2012," said Cantwell at today's hearing. "I wanted to have your thoughts on reauthorizing that section of the bill, would support the reauthorization of that?"
Contreras-Sweet responded: "I, from the community, understand the importance of the product. So if I am confirmed I'd be delighted to work with you and explore ways in which we can continue to fill that important gap."
Cantwell replied: "So would you support the reauthorization of that?"
"If given the opportunity, I support the product," said Contreras-Sweet. "I think it's an important tool for Americans today."
Cantwell is a cosponsor of S.289, The CREED Act, passed unanimously by the Small Business Committee last spring. The Act would reinstate the SBA 504 Debt Refinance Program, which expired on
Contreras-Sweet also agreed with Cantwell that the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program is essential to helping small businesses grow and compete in a global economy. Cantwell cited several small businesses that STEP has helped in
"I want to get your thoughts on the STEP program and whether you support continuing that or growing that effort," said Cantwell at today's hearing. "We have huge opportunities to the Asian market in the
Contreras-Sweet responded: "So to the extent that we can have programs like STEP helping them, partnering with them, and providing them the right tools - I think we can strengthen our ability to compete globally. Again, this is where the innovations are taking place and so why not let the small business have a piece of that pie, a bite of that apple, make sure they're also partaking of the international globalized opportunities that are presenting themselves in an increasing way every year. I believe in the program, I think it's an important program, and the tools in it support small business expansion in the international economies."
On the Small Business Committee, Cantwell has been a
Cantwell was also instrumental to the creation of the STEP program, authorized under the SBJA. The STEP program helps small businesses increase exports by boosting the amount and value of their products going to overseas markets. In
Along with STEP, Cantwell has fought for investments that help businesses export to more clients overseas. During 2012 she worked for months to successfully reauthorize the
A full transcript of today's hearing follows.
Senator Cantwell: Thank you Madam Chair. I too want to thank you for your tremendous leadership at the Small Business Committee. Not only do I consider you a personal friend - but a giant advocate for small businesses. When our country had one of our biggest economic downturns, there was a lot of discussion about how to help the big banks. In fact, in my opinion, we kind of gave them access to the keys to the Treasury. Something I didn't quite appreciate was the fact of how that was done. But you were steadfast in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 in advocating for small businesses - trying to come up with ways to protect them as they were getting hammered by new regulations and this economic downturn when performing lines of credit were pulled right out from under people. I just could not have been more proud of your leadership in this committee. People didn't realize what an advocate
We had to work with Senator Voinovich and Senator LeMieux to finally get a bill that tried to protect small business. It was the cry in our country at that time that small businesses were just getting hammered on this downturn and really in some ways almost being a scapegoat for what had happened at a much larger level. I don't think a lot of these small banks or even the businesses that they were serving were involved in derivative activity but yet they were the ones that took it right in the chin. So I am very proud of your leadership on that and very proud of your leadership on this committee and I know you're not going far. The fact that we both serve on the Energy Committee and this committee, we'll certainly be looking for ways to work together. So thank you for that.
Senator Cantwell: So would you support the reauthorization of that?
Senator Cantwell: Thank you. Another program - and again - appreciate your perspective on small businesses and small business exports. My colleague from
Senator Cantwell: Yes, I am a huge believer in where we are right now in the context of the information age in a lot of products and services. But you have to add capital. The US has a lot of these businesses, so the STEP Program in my state has been beneficial from many technology aspects. They helped an export program in my state grow to help hundreds of new people; including Swype technology that right at the critical moment they got access to the Asian market. Just recently some aviation companies,
Next, let me just speak to STEP. What I like about STEP is that it has three important components, in my view. Again, just from personal experience. I really appreciate that somebody can come in and get some counseling through a university - the partnerships with universities - that it is state sponsored so that there's a relationship and a partnership with the state governments. And many instances this is where many of the small business are a little more comfortable. So I appreciate that. I appreciate that it provides for introductions, in many instances internationally. And so there's so many good components around STEP and in a globalized economy, we have to find ways to make sure that small businesses, too, can compete in that. There is currently in my view with technology and all the other tools that are available to us, the lowest barrier to entry for a small business opportunity. So to the extent that we can have programs like STEP helping them, partnering with them, and providing them the right tools - I think we can strengthen our ability to compete globally. Again, this is where the innovations are taking place and so why not let the small business have a piece of that pie, a bite of that apple, make sure they're also partaking of the international globalized opportunities that are presenting themselves in an increasing way every year. I believe in the program, I think it's an important program, and the tools in it support small business expansion in the international economies.
Senator Cantwell: Great. Thank you.
Read this original document at: http://www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=41bc1910-7eb7-4c36-8552-a577186729cc
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