Empowering Small Business
Small business remain central to the economy, generating nearly two-thirds of net new jobs over the past 17 years. As the lead Democrat on the House Committee on Small Business, Representative Velázquez has led efforts to open up the federal marketplace to small firms and to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to affordable sources of capital.
With the economy showing signs of recovery, new small businesses are opening and existing ones growing stronger. To support their growth, Representative Velázquez has spearheaded key legislative initiatives during her time in Congress, becoming a champion of small businesses through the country, but especially for those located in New York City.
She has the honor of serving as both the Chairwoman and the lead Democrat of Committee on Small Business. In this role she has authored legislation to create a new contracting program targeted to women entrepreneurs, which will help them build on the $63 million in contracts New York City’s women-owned businesses already win. This program, which was fully implemented last year, will enable women entrepreneurs to gain better access to the $500 billion federal marketplace.
Representative Velázquez has also taken action to provide affordable loans and investment capital to small businesses. She worked with President Clinton to pass the New Markets Venture Capital Company Program that channels technical assistance and capital into low-income communities. She also authored key small business initiatives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which reduced the cost of Small Business Administration loans. As part of President Obama’s stimulus plan, these lending initiatives resulted in almost $500 million in loans into the New York City small business economy, saving the average small business thousands in lending costs. Representative Velázquez also fought Bush administration efforts to end the Microloan program, which provides nearly $3 million in small loans to New York City’s minority- and women-entrepreneurs annually.
During her time as Chairwoman of the Committee on Small Business, Representative Velázquez led one of the most productive times in Committee history. The Committee produced more than 30 bills, many of which became law and held nearly 200 hearings on issues ranging from job creation to oversight of fraud and mismanagement in government programs. Several pieces of Committee legislation were signed into law during this time, including legislation increasing entrepreneurial assistance for America’s military veterans, supporting renewable energy sources, and ensuring that the government is prepared to assist businesses and homeowners following disasters.