March 23, 2007 -- The Senate on Friday approved $97 million in extra funding for the Small Business Administration's 2008 budget request, including funds for a microloan lending program that was slated to be cut.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), represents a 21 percent increase of the agency's proposed $464 million budget submitted earlier this year.

"Small-business programs have been on a starvation diet for too many years and we're trying to reverse that," Kerry, chairman and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said in a statement.

In addition to the microloan program, the amendment would also boost funds for a range of SBA lending and support programs for small business owners, including contracting assistance, Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, veterans outreach programs, and other technical assistance programs.

The agency's 2008 budget is expected to be taken up by the House later this year.

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