The action Congress took yesterday to support the growth of small businesses by passing H.R. 2352 [pdf here] appropriately came during National Small Business Week, which honors the invaluable role small businesses play in fueling our economy.

Though small businesses rarely garner the national headlines of Fortune 500 corporations, it is important for us to remember that nearly half of American workers are employed by small businesses. And these companies account for more than 50 percent of our national GDP.

Unfortunately, small businesses are also often the first to encounter financial difficulties in an economic downturn—a reality that has deterred many prospective entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.

As we work to get our economy back on track, it’s critical to encourage entrepreneurship to the greatest extent possible. That’s why I was proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act.

This important legislation will extend new tools to entrepreneurs as they work through the difficult first steps of starting and sustaining a successful business venture, as well as give a boost to current small businesses by modernizing the Small Business Administration's (SBA) entrepreneurial development programs so that small business owners can not only survive the current downturn, but expand and put people to work. And the bill further opens the door of opportunity for Veterans, Native Americans and women to take part in small business ownership.

As my colleagues and I continue working towards long-term growth and stability of our job market, I look forward to supporting future legislation that will provide small businesses with the resources and assistance they need to succeed and fuel our nation’s economic recovery.