A bill championed by outgoing U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., to expand federal help for small businesses is building momentum on Capitol Hill.
At the end of July, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., introduced a bill which would take the Community Advantage Loan Program, which was set up as a pilot program back in 2011 “to provide low-interest loans to small businesses that have been historically underserved by loan providers, such as veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses” and reauthorize it through 2025. The proposal would also have the Small Business Administration (SBA) offer more training and assistance to small businesses in the program. Spano is the main co-sponsor of the bill.
“Every business in our country is suffering right now, but small minority- or woman-owned businesses are facing even greater challenges as they lack the relationships with large banks necessary to secure business loans,” said Chu when she brought the bill out. “The SBA’s Community Advantage program has a demonstrated record of success at helping these businesses not only access loans, but also with providing technical assistance and training for lenders so that they can better serve these markets.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program has successfully provided immediate relief to millions of small businesses and saved over 51+ million jobs, including over 68,000 jobs in FL-15. Now it is time for Congress to turn its attention to providing longer-term liquidity to small businesses in need,” said Spano. “As a former small business owner, I know this bill will help veteran-owned small businesses and create more jobs— something I have been laser-focused on in Congress. ”
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, who leads Republicans on the U.S. House Small Business Committee, is backing the proposal.
“When small businesses succeed, neighborhoods can thrive thanks to the jobs they create. This is especially true for our nation’s low-income communities. Businesses in these areas may not have a strong relationship with a bank or credit union, stifling their efforts at growth. For nearly a decade, the SBA Community Advantage Program has helped these businesses access capital,” said Chabot. “The legislation introduced today extends the program, outlines program requirements, and includes safeguards for proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars. I thank Representatives Spano and Chu for their leadership and commitment to ensuring our nation’s underserved businesses and communities are not left behind.”
This week, Spano helped get the bill through the U.S. House Small Business Committee. Spano, who was defeated by Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin in last month’s Republican primary, is the only member of the Florida delegation on the committee.
“Small businesses and the jobs they create are key to a strong and robust economic recovery. The Community Advantage Program will help small businesses grow by allowing them access to low-cost capital. This will provide greater opportunities for all Americans,” said Spano on Wednesday. “I wish to thank my colleagues on the Small Business Committee for coming together on this issue.”
The bill now heads to the House floor. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., has introduced a related bill over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.