United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Senate Small Business Committee
Standing committee
Seal of the United States Senate.svg
United States Senate
117th Congress
FormedFebruary 20, 1950
ChairBen Cardin (D)
Since February 3, 2021
Ranking memberRand Paul (R)
Since February 3, 2021
Seats20 members[a]
Political partiesMajority (10)
  •   Democratic (10)
Minority (10)
Oversight authoritySmall Business Administration
House counterpartHouse Committee on Small Business
  1. ^ Democrats are in the majority due to the tiebreaking power of Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves ex officio as the president of the Senate.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over the Small Business Administration and is also charged with researching and investigating all problems of American small business enterprises.


On October 8, 1940, the Senate established the Special Committee to Study and Survey Problems of Small Business Enterprises (also known as the Special Committee to Study Problems of American Small Business). On January 31, 1949, this special committee was terminated, but on February 20, 1950, the Select Committee on Small Business was created with approval of Senate Resolution 58 during the 81st Congress. That first committee had just nine members. It was the first select committee created by the Senate that still operates today.

The select committee was terminated on March 25, 1981, when it became the Committee on Small Business, a standing committee. On June 29, 2001, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) changed the name of the committee to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.[1]

The committee's jurisdiction has been changed several times since it was first created, through additional powers or by changing the manner in which committee members are appointed. While first established as a select committee with limited responsibilities, it now possesses virtually all the characteristics of a standing committee, as outlined under Senate Rule 25.

During the 96th Congress, the committee acted on legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Administration that expanded the agency to include loan programs for employee ownership, Small Business Development Centers, and increased export development assistance for small businesses.

Since its creation, the committee has held hearings on paperwork reduction and elimination (which eventually led to the Paperwork Reduction Act), capital formation, tax and securities law reform for small business, steel plant shutdowns, and the impact of inflation on governmental actions on the housing industry.

The committee was changed from small business to Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship beginning in 1981.


Initially, the Small Business Committee only had limited oversight over the Small Business Administration. The committee was directed to report to the Senate from time to time with its recommendations regarding small business matters.

With the adoption of S. Res. 272 during the 82nd Congress, the committee was granted subpoena power, and the ability to "sit and act at such times during the sessions, recesses, and adjourned periods of the Senate." These abilities are common to the other standing committees in the Senate. S. Res. 272 also provided for a more structured committee, with specific requirements on a quorum of members needed for the committee to conduct its business, and its own committee staff.

S. Res. 58 stipulated that beginning with the 95th Congress, the Small Business Committee would be granted jurisdiction over all legislation relating to the Small Business Administration. This ability was granted S. Res. 104, agreed to on April 29, 1976, provided for this new jurisdiction, granting not only authority over small business legislation but additional oversight over the agency as well. The committee has also been granted the right of re-referral of legislation from other standing committees, where appropriate.

Today, the jurisdiction of the committee is roughly the same as it was when it was first established, chiefly the Small Business Administration and the Small Investment Act. However, by tradition, the committee reviews all matters that apply to small business that are not by themselves subject to the jurisdiction over another standing committee. The committee continues to study and survey by means of research and investigation all problems of American small business enterprises, with the intent to provide advice to Congress in enacting appropriate legislation. The committee also is responsible for reviewing nominations for positions within the Small Business Administration, including its Administrator, Chief Council for Advocacy, and Inspector General.

Members, 117th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority


Select Committee on Small Business[edit]

Name Party State Years
John Sparkman Democratic Alabama 1950–1953
Edward John Thye Republican Minnesota 1953–1955
John Sparkman Democratic Alabama 1955–1967
George Smathers Democratic Florida 1967–1969
Alan Bible Democratic Nevada 1969–1974
Gaylord Nelson Democratic Wisconsin 1974–1981

Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship[edit]

Name Party State Years
Lowell Weicker Republican Connecticut 1981–1987
Dale Bumpers Democratic Arkansas 1987–1995
Kit Bond Republican Missouri 1995–2001
John Kerry Democratic Massachusetts 2001
Kit Bond Republican Missouri 2001
John Kerry Democratic Massachusetts 2001–2003
Olympia Snowe Republican Maine 2003–2007
John Kerry Democratic Massachusetts 2007–2009
Mary Landrieu Democratic Louisiana 2009–2014
Maria Cantwell Democratic Washington 2014–2015
David Vitter Republican Louisiana 2015-2017
Jim Risch Republican Idaho 2017–2019
Marco Rubio Republican Florida 2019–2021
Ben Cardin Democratic Maryland 2021–present

Historical committee rosters[edit]

116th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

115th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

Source [2]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "History - About - U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship". www.sbc.senate.gov. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  2. ^ "U.S. Senate: Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship". www.senate.gov. Retrieved January 8, 2017.