Sept. 16, 2004--The House of Representatives passed its fourth temporary lifeline to the Small Business Administration in less than a year on Monday -- and ranking Democrat Nydia Velazquez isn't happy about it.

Velazquez blamed House Republicans for failing to pass an alternative bill -- H.R. 2802 -- that would solidify permanent federal funding for critical small business lending programs like the 7(a) program. Velazquez said that unless Congress acts to support the SBA by September 30, the fees charged to small business borrowers would double.

"This is the final round for the longevity of the 7(a) program, which has gone through so much over the past year," said Velazquez in a statement. "By not passing the reauthorization, the first step is being taken in dismantling the government's role in securing small business access to affordable capital."

Following the shutdown of the 7(a) program earlier this year due to lack of funding, the SBA has raised the fees charged to borrow money, fees Velazquez called, "nothing more than a hidden tax on small business." Velazquez pointed to H.R. 2802, a proposal to rewrite the entire SBA lending program, as a better solution for entrepreneurs since it passed unanimously out of the small business committee a year ago.

After failing to pass the H.R. 2802 legislation on Monday, Velazquez took aim not only at Republicans but also at what she called a continuing embarrassment on Capitol Hill.

"At a time when small businesses are struggling, it is critical that Congress holds up its end of the bargain, stops talking about how important small businesses are, and does something by passing the SBA reauthorization," she said.