Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Chair: Ben Cardin


Grade for the 117th Congress

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings

8 Policy/Legislative Hearings

19 Total Hearings

Last updated: April 28, 2024, 4:19 p.m.

The committee’s jurisdiction is largely limited to oversight over the Small Business Administration, an independent and oft-troubled agency whose administrator can be designated as a cabinet-level position. The SBA provides financing, advice and training to help entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses, advocates for less onerous regulations on small businesses and supervises a regulation that sets aside 23 percent of federal prime contracts for small businesses. (Large companies’ use of illegal means to qualify for these small-company contracts is a constant problem.) The committee may also consider non-SBA legislation and refer it to another committee of jurisdiction, and is charged with conducting periodic studies on problems affecting small businesses. The committee has no subcommittees.

The Small Business Committee has a relatively small staff and conducts fewer hearings than most other standing committees with legislative responsibilities. Most of the financing it authorizes is done through loan guarantees and subsidies rather than direct federal spending. In the 116th Congress (2019-20) under Chair Marco Rubio (R, Fla.), the committee held 31 hearings, enough to earn the committee the only "A" in the Senate.

The committee only held 13 policy and legislative oversight hearings in the 116th Congress under Chair Rubio, above average for the 12-year period when the abridged Covid-19 schedule is taken into consideration.

The committee held no investigative oversight hearings in the 116th Congress, and held only one during the five previous Congresses. It was one of nine Senate committees in the 116th Congress to conduct no investigative oversight.


111th Congress: Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

112th Congress: Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

113th Congress: Mary Landrieu (D-LA) [Maria Cantwell (D-WA)]

114th Congress: David Vitter (R-LA)

115th Congress: Jim Risch (R-ID)

116th Congress: Marco Rubio (R-FL)

117th Congress: Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Current Congress

We are 100% of the way through the 117th Congress

Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
8 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 44% historical maximum
19 Total Hearings; 47% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 0 19 39 100% A
112th Congress 1 14 20 71% C-
113th Congress 0 9 25 56% F
114th Congress 0 15 42 94% A
115th Congress 0 4 17 32% F
116th Congress* 0 13 31 92% A
117th Congress 0 8 19 47% F
Historical average 0.1 11.7 27.6

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 []

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Date Hearing Title Committee Category