Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, small businesses have always been a critical component of the U.S. economy, and that is not different today. Generating nearly two-thirds of net new jobs over the past 15 years, they are not only the primary catalyst for employment growth but also for our Nation's underlying prosperity. Through the years, we have relied on our strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation to renew us and make us stronger.
Today, small firms face different challenges than in the past. As a result, there will be different solutions. The policies that we adopt today must be carefully crafted to meet entrepreneurs's current needs. Unfortunately, the legislation we are considering today do not provide the protections that we need to make sure that small businesses have access to affordable capital.
We have seen the power of small businesses to pull us forward before. During the recession of the early 1990s, small businesses provided an economic lifeboat and created approximately 3.8 million jobs. This fueled the recovery then, while also planting the seeds for growth later in that decade. Back them it was the dot-coms and the Internet revolution at the forefront of the recovery. Today, we see entrepreneurs embracing green technologies and alternative energy. Small firms are fabricating solar panels, developing fuel cells, and researching innovations in building materials. These green firms add $933 billion to the economy each year and employ more than 11 million workers. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 40 million employees, or 25 percent of the American workforce.
In the next decade, this will be the foundation for growth and job creation. Once again, it will be small firms leading the way.
While these cutting-edge firms are critical to the future, we also must recognize the importance of established firms. These local businesses, the mom and pops and the local storefronts, provide employment to millions of individuals and anchor our communities. For many, the economic recovery that has begun in recent months is long overdue.
Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that the environment is conducive to the success of both new and established businesses. For some, this means reducing the regulatory burden or providing tax relief. For others, it requires greater access to affordable capital or entrepreneurial assistance. Most important, we must get this mix right and avoid enacting policies that do not meet entrepreneurs' needs.
Whatever policies we choose, whether it be the legislation under consideration today or future proposals, it is crucial that we continue to embrace the power of our Nation's small businesses. Doing so will create badly needed jobs in the short term, while laying the framework for a long-term, sustainable period of growth.
I yield back the balance of my time.