D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to
strongly urge her colleagues to put politics aside and support the Small
Business Lending Bill currently being considered on the Senate floor. After
being blocked by Senate Republicans in July, this bill cleared a key hurdle
yesterday and a final vote on the bill is expected later today or tomorrow.
Murray told her colleague the stories of small business owners she met with in Washington state over the last few weeks. She spoke about the ways that this bill will help small businesses in Washington state expand and create jobs. Murray has been a long-time advocate for a $30 billion fund to help community banks lend to small businesses. Last year she introduced similar legislation, and she talked directly to Secretary Geithner and President Obama about making this happen.
excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:
“I spent the last month crisscrossing Washington state and talking to families and small business owners about ways to create jobs and grow the economy. And what I heard again and again—from so many of these small business owners—is that one of the major factors preventing them from growing is their inability to access credit.”
businesses like the ones I visited in Washington state can be the engine that
drives our economic recovery. But that engine needs fuel in the form of credit
to run—and that fuel simply isn’t flowing right now.”
many of my Republican colleagues are afraid that a victory for small businesses
is a victory for the Democratic Party—and they simply don’t want to allow that
to happen this close to an election. Well I think that’s a shame. Because
I believe the challenges our small business owners face today transcend
partisan politics…And a win for small business isn’t a win for any one
political party— it’s a win for our economy, our workers, and our country.”
full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:
“Mr. President, over the past few months I have been pushing hard for legislation that would help small business owners in my home state of Washington access the capital they need to expand and create jobs. And I stand here today to urge my colleagues to put politics aside and finally allow this critical legislation to pass.
“Mr. President, I spent the last month crisscrossing Washington state and talking to families and small business owners about ways to create jobs and grow the economy. And what I heard again and again—from so many of these small business owners—is that one of the major factors preventing them from growing is their inability to access credit.
“Banks just weren’t lending them money—even to the small businesses that were doing better than they’ve ever done before!
“I recently spoke with a small business owner named Alton McDonald, who owns a grocery store in Tacoma. He told me he wants to hire new employees—his business is primed to grow—but when he went to the bank to get a loan, he was turned down.
“I also spoke with a small business owner named Peter Aaron, who owns the Elliott Bay Bookstore in Seattle that has been a local institution for decades. He is doing his best to keep his head above water in this tough economy, but he told me that finding a lender to lend him the money he needs to stay in business is an ongoing challenge. And right now he is really struggling to get the financing he needs to put books on the shelves for the holiday season.
“I also had the opportunity to speak with Timothy Robinson, who owns a small manufacturing company in Snohomish County. His small business currently employs 14 people—and is doing well—but he told me that despite his best efforts he simply can’t get access to the credit he needs to expand. If he could get a bank to give him a loan, Timothy told me that he could add 30 people right away. 30 new jobs, right in Snohomish County.
“Mr. President, what I heard from these small business owners and dozens more over the last few weeks was clear: if small businesses were given greater access to credit, they would be able to expand their operations and add new jobs.
“It’s as simple as that.
“Small businesses like the ones I visited in Washington state can be the engine that drives our economic recovery. But that engine needs fuel in the form of credit to run—and that fuel simply isn’t flowing right now.
“Mr. President, in communities across my home state of Washington it has been community banks that have taken the lead in providing that fuel for small business growth.
“They understand the communities they work in—and they work closely with local small business owners to make sure their needs are met.
“But Mr. President, the sad fact is that for far too long our community banks have been ignored in our economic recovery.
“Since this recession began we have seen banks fail one after another, lending dry up to our small businesses, and job growth suffer.
“While Wall Street institutions like AIG and Goldman Sachs were deemed “too big to fail,” the collapse of our community banks has apparently been “too small to notice.”
“That’s why last year I introduced The Main Street Lending Restoration Act, which would direct 30 billion dollars to help jumpstart small business lending.
“It’s why I spoke to Secretary Geithner about this directly. It’s why I have been pushing my colleagues hard to make small business lending a priority. And it’s why when President Obama came to Seattle last month, I introduced him to local small business owners and we specifically talked about this issue.
“Because I feel very strongly that we need to focus more on community banks if we are really going to make progress and bring true recovery to Main Street businesses.
“So that’s why I am so proud to stand here today to support this Small Business Lending legislation.
“This bill takes the most powerful idea from my Main Street Lending Restoration Act. It sets aside $30 billion to help our local community banks—those under $10 billion in assets – to help them get the capital they need to begin lending money to small businesses again.
“It would reward the banks that are helping our small businesses grow by reducing interest rates on capital they receive under the program.
“It would help support small business initiatives administered by states across the country that are struggling due to budget cutbacks. And does it all while saving taxpayers an estimated $1 billion.
“Mr. President, when I met with small business owners across Washington state I spent a lot of time discussing this bill with them.
“I talked about how it would help them create jobs and grow their businesses— and every single small business owner I spoke to thought this was a great idea.
“But many of them had a question for me—a question I wish I had a better answer to.
“Their question was: who would oppose a bill like this?
“Who would oppose a bill that seems like such a common sense solution to a pressing problem?
“A bill that would create jobs, help small businesses grow, and boost our economy at a time when this is desperately needed -why would anyone stand up and say no to this?
“Well Mr. President, unfortunately, I suspect that it comes down to old-fashioned political games.
“Too many of my Republican colleagues are afraid that a victory for small businesses is a victory for the Democratic Party—and they simply don’t want to allow that to happen this close to an election.
“Well I think that’s a shame.
“Because I believe the challenges our small business owners face today transcend partisan politics. And the truth is that this is a non-partisan bill. It’s a bill that puts credit back into the hands of our small business owners. A bill that puts people back to work.
“And Mr. President, a win for small business isn’t a win for any one political party— it’s a win for our economy, our workers, and our country.
I urge all my colleagues to put aside partisan politics, listen to the voices
of their constituents and small business owners, and support this critical
“Thank you. I yield the floor.”