FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFEBRUARY 9, 2018Cardin Returns to Leadership Position on Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship CommitteeWASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) this week resumed his role as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Senator Cardin previously held the position in 2015. He released the following statement on the importance of this committee and its capacity to help the millions of small businesses that drive our economy.“I am proud to rejoin the leadership of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They create jobs. I asked to be a member of this committee when I first arrived in the Senate in 2007. Since that time, I have worked to find opportunities for the federal government to be a reliable customer and partner with small businesses and remove obstacles to growth. My priorities continue to be finding better ways to expand access to the tools small businesses need to start and succeed: capital, contracts, and opportunities for growth.“I look forward to working with Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and the full Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee to provide better assistance to small businesses by increasing agency awards to small businesses; preventing bundling and improper sole source contracts that make it impossible for small businesses to compete; increasing loan guarantee backstops; improving the access to capital pipelines; enhancing agency technology transfer programs and phases; and particularly boosting training and contract opportunities for women-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned and minority businesses. My thanks and deep appreciation go to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for her tremendous stewardship of the committee during such a volatile time for our economy.”Senator Cardin’s legislative work on behalf of small businesses, especially in Maryland, has continued unabated. Among his legislative accomplishments, in September, he secured a provision in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to extend federal HUBZone eligibility to small businesses in Garrett County and in other HUBZone areas around Maryland. The provision, Senate Amendment 510, mirrors the HUBZone Investment Protection Act (S. 690), which was authored by Cardin and cosponsored by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).In July, he and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) introduced legislation, The Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, to encourage retirement savings by fostering the growth of S corporations that are owned by Employee Stock Ownership Plans (“S-ESOPs”). The bill would provide an important protection for small businesses by ensuring that they continue to qualify for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, contracting assistance, or business development programs after they are converted to ESOPs.Senator Cardin also regularly meets with Maryland economic development boards and local chambers of commerce to talk about programs that help small businesses and the challenges they face regionally. For years, he has traveled the state on his “Made in Maryland Jobs Tour,” celebrating the diversity of Maryland-made products and the Marylanders who create them, many of which have been small businesses.Senator Ben Cardin meets with the leadership of the Charles County Department of Economic Development and small business leaders from across Southern Maryland.Senator Ben Cardin after touring Michele’s Granola in Timonium, Md.Senator Cardin visits with the Evergrain Bread Company in Chestertown, Md.