Landrieu Moves On, Cantwell Moves In

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu recently moved on from her spot atop the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship—which she held since 2009—in order to take over the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. Taking her place is Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Cantwell is no stranger to the tech startup world, having spent five years (from 1995-1999) at RealNetworks in Seattle after a stint in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2001 and was immediately assigned to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee where she has served ever since.

While Cantwell didn’t say much about the confirmation, she did single out the importance of exports.

“The Obama administration has set a goal of doubling exports in 5 years,” she said. “The State of Washington has been a national leader, setting a new record for exports in 2013 along with 15 other states. This Congress we will work to ensure small businesses can gain access to new markets and increase their exports.

A statement released on the committee website credits Cantwell with:

  • Being the leading advocate for the Small Business Lending Fund, a program to increase private-sector lending to credit-worthy small businesses through community banks
  • Backing programs in the Small Business Jobs Act to ramp up the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 and 7(a) loan guarantee programs by increasing their loan limits from $1.5 million to $5.5 million     
  • Helping create the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program that helps small businesses increase exports by boosting the amount and value of their products going to overseas markets
  • Fighting for investments that help businesses export to more clients overseas. During 2012 she worked for months to successfully reauthorize the Export-Import Bank until 2014; and,
  • Co-sponsoring  of S.289, the CREED Act, which would reinstate the popular SBA 504 debt refinance program, which helps small businesses unlock their own equity to create and sustain jobs.


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