The hearing has begun with opening statements from Senator Mary Landrieu and Senator Olympia Snowe. Also present at the onset of the hearing is Senator Rand Paul. Senator Landrieu expressed the overarching concerns of the Small Business Committee with reports of fraud and abuse in federal small business contracting programs. Ms. Landrieu also noted GAO investigations into this matter, and her hope that both the first panel representing the SBA, and the second panel representing the GAO and small business community, could help shed light on this issue.
Senator Snowe began by echoing Senator Landrieu’s statements, and further detailed the importance of this hearing, particularly in the context of job creation in the small business community. Expressing concerns at potential abuse in the SBA’s small business lending programs, Ms. Snowe also put forth her backing for s. 633 the Small Business Contracting Fraud Protection Act, which will take aim at eliminating fraudulent practices in the awarding of federal small business contracts.
In Senator Paul’s opening statement, he detailed concerns over the government’s interference with the free market, and placed these concerns in the context of the Small Business Administration’s lending programs. He described the possibility of a “politicization” of small business loans, and stated that the government’s facilitation of lending to small businesses may not be the best course for economic stimulus and job creation.