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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Details of Obama Small Business Conference Remain a Mystery

November 4, 2009

Petaluma, Calif. – Two weeks after President Barack Obama announced a special conference to discuss increasing the flow of credit to small businesses, no information about the date, time, location or attendees has been made available.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) is skeptical about the true purpose of the conference. The ASBL predicts that the actual purpose of the meeting will be to try and change the long standing federal definition of a small business as "independently owned" to include firms owned by wealthy venture capitalists that backed President Obama's campaign.

"If this conference does take place, I doubt there will be one person in the room like myself who has a documentable track record of fighting for legitimate small businesses. I'm sure there will be sham small business groups that are actually backed by the Fortune 500 corporations that are currently receiving most federal small business contracts. There will also be a significant number of venture capitalists that are trying to highjack federal small business programs," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.

The ASBL is concerned that not only will the conference not help small businesses, but a proposal may even come out of the conference to close the SBA under the guise of bolstering the agency by combining it with the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the past, combining small agencies with the Commerce Department has been a technique used in Washington by previous administrations to quietly close agencies. The Minority Business Development Agency was essentially closed in this way.

If President Obama wants to help small businesses he needs to make good on his campaign promise to, "end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants." The best way to do that is for him to pass H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contacting Act of 2009. This bill would redirect over $100 billion a year in current federal infrastructure spending to the middle class firms where nearly all new jobs are created.

According to the most recent data released by the Obama Administration billions of dollars in federal small business contracts have been diverted to firms like: Textron, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, British Aerospace (BAE), Rolls-Royce and French firm Thales Communications.

In February of 2009, Obama officials awarded a $128 million small business contract to, Fortune 500 firm, Bechtel Bettis Inc.


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