WASHINGTON---As part of his ongoing effort to rein in the federal government’s out-of-control spending, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today offered an amendment to S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Bill that will save American taxpayers $12 billion and prevent the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) from becoming another Washington bailout.
“Over the past two years we have witnessed a colossal spending binge out of this White House, with federal spending now standing at 25 percent of our nation’s economic output,” said Hatch. “By eliminating a $12 billion blank check for this so-called lending fund that the Administration hasn’t even used, we are taking a concrete step to rein in Washington’s run-away spending and ensure hard-earned taxpayer dollars are not being used to bail out financial institutions.”
Enacted last year, the Small Business Jobs Act created a new $30 billion fund which Democrats claimed would quickly provide more capital for local banks to lend to small businesses. Although Congress has authorized the full $30 billion for the fund, the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget only requested approximately $18 billion for SBLF loans. The Hatch Amendment safeguards taxpayer dollars by reducing the maximum purchase limit under the SBLF from $30 billion to $18 billion.
“With this amendment, we are simply taking the Administration at its word and getting this $12 billion in savings on the books to better protect American taxpayers,” said Hatch.
Hatch has been critical of the SBLF, citing concerns that the $30 billion slush fund would be a de facto double down of the failed stimulus and bailout policies favored by the Obama Administration. To date, the U.S. Treasury Department has failed to announce any financial agreements regarding SBLF loans to financial institutions. Earlier this month, Hatch sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urging him to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure banks and financial institutions receiving funding through SBLF are fully vetted and qualified for access to additional capital.