Straight Talk: Debt Cloud Over Economy

Our nation’s economy is under an ominous cloud of debt and fiscal irresponsibility. To restore confidence in our economy, we must confront our $16 trillion debt and reverse the pattern of deficit spending. Every federal agency in Washington must take part in this responsibility and find savings, including the Small Business Administration. The Government Accountability Office has outlined potential duplication at the SBA, so we know there may be savings available through consolidating programs. This week, the Committee recommended specific ways to streamline their operations and focus on the core functions of counseling, capital, and contracting.

Today, automatic spending reductions go into effect, and, unfortunately, the President has politicized the effects of these cuts. All of us would have preferred a more targeted approach to cutting spending, but now we must move on and pursue a responsible budget that avoids recurring future deadlines like sequestration and the recent fiscal cliff. Governing by freakout, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized this month, is poor leadership. Instead, we need sensible reforms so our nation’s finances are managed with foresight.

Latest Committee Action

On Wednesday, the Committee conducted a markup of its Views and Estimates, a yearly method of commenting on the Small Business Administration’s budget request. Since the President missed the deadline for submitting a budget, the Committee went ahead and made recommendations to improve operations to fulfill the Committee's responsibilities. The Committee urged the SBA to explore the numerous options available to consolidate services and limit duplication for savings, while refocusing on its core mission to serve small businesses.

On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade held a hearing on the obstacles and barriers that deter small businesses from participating in international trade. In addition to exposing challenges facing small business exporters, the hearing highlighted trade policy initiatives for the 113th Congress. According to the International Trade Center, small businesses that exported averaged 37 percent in revenue growth from 2005 to 2009, while non-exporting small businesses averaged a seven percent decline.

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