The Administration does not oppose House passage of H.R. 3845, but will
seek a Senate amendment to strike the fee portion of the bill. The Small
Business Administration (SBA) should have maximum flexibility to both
increase and decrease the fee as needed. Constraining SBA's ability to
raise fees above 1 percent, when combined with a zero subsidy requirement,
would necessitate appropriations if fee income is insufficient to cover
program costs. Consistent with the FY 2001 Budget, the Administration will
seek legislation to reduce the fee on the debenture program for fiscal year
2001 from 1% to .88% to achieve a zero-subsidy rate for that fiscal year.
In addition, while the changing nature of investment requirements for small
businesses may warrant changes to the definitions of a small business and
of a long-term investment, the Administration would prefer that there be a
fuller discussion of these issues before such changes are enacted into law.
Finally, the bill will have a pay-as-you-go impact if it does not
explicitly limit the application of any revised fees to future guarantees.
The Administration hopes to work with the Congress to resolve all of these
issues before final passage of this bill.