Chair: Ben Cardin
Grade for the 117th Congress
0 Investigative Oversight Hearings
8 Policy/Legislative Hearings
19 Total HearingsLast updated: Sept. 2, 2023, 3:52 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)
We are 100% of the way through the 117th Congress
Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]