Democrats Seek to Reverse Trump Hiring Freeze at Small Business Administration

Apr 5, 2017
Washington, DC - Democratic Members of the House Small Business Committee have introduced a measure to exempt the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from President Trump’s recent order instituting a hiring freeze across large portions of the U.S. government.  Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the author of the bill and top Democrat on the Committee, said the bill was needed to ensure the SBA meets small businesses’ needs, thereby preventing a slowdown in job creation.
 
“President Trump’s hiring freeze is a bad idea all around, but, in particular, we cannot allow this misguided policy to hamstring small businesses and our economy,” Velázquez said.  “We need SBA to be firing on all cylinders, so they can provide critical counseling and capital access services to the entrepreneurs who create jobs in this country.”
 
The SBA’s core mission is maintaining and strengthening the nation's economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses.  In advancing that goal, the agency has a range of programs that can help new entrepreneurs launch ventures and existing companies to grow.  The agency helps business owners struggling with financing to secure capital through an array of capital access initiatives.  Last Fiscal Year, the agency supported over $24 billion in lending through its 7(a) program alone. Another $4 billion in lending was made available for capital intensive projects through the agency’s 504 initiative. 
 
The agency also supports a network of Entrepreneurial Development programs spread throughout the nation.  Small Business Development Centers, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Women’s Business Centers provide business owners with counseling and technical assistance covering everything from drafting a business plan to expanding exports abroad.  
 
“It would be unconscionable if a potential entrepreneur with a great idea delays launching a new venture because they can’t access SBA services,” Velázquez added. “If the Trump hiring freeze means entrepreneurs put off launching a venture or existing businesses delay expansion, then that costs our communities jobs.”  
 
The bill, H.R. 1878, was introduced Tuesday, in advance of the SBA Administrator, Linda McMahon, testifying before the Committee.  In January, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum that froze hiring at most federal agencies for 90 days and some have speculated the freeze may be extended. Trump’s directive also required that, during the 90-day period the Office of Management and Budget seek ways to reduce agency staff through attrition.  The legislation would protect SBA from future hiring freezes or subsequent actions by OMB reducing the agency’s workforce.
 
“Growing the small business sector requires more than lip service and hollow promises,” Velázquez added. “It involves wisely investing in programs that work and includes ensuring SBA has resources to help.  We must resist efforts that would restrict the SBA’s functions and deprive businesses of valuable services.”
 
The legislation was cosponsored by every Democratic Member of the Small Business Committee.