Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, joined President Obama at Metropolitan Archives in Landover, MD, today as he announced new small business lending initiatives designed to put capital in the hands of small business owners. Senator Cardin applauded the new measures and announced his original co-sponsorship of a bill to be introduced by Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA) that will codify many of the initiatives and lending cap increases announced by the President today.
“Maryland’s 522,000 small businesses provide economic opportunities to diverse groups of people, employing more than 1.2 million citizens, and bring innovative products and services to the market. But without capital, small businesses in Maryland and across the country cannot weather the current financial storm that has engulfed our economy. It’s clear that our nation’s economic recovery is dependent on the recovery and growth of small businesses.
“My top priority has long been to make it easier for small businesses to get the tools they need to need to survive and thrive. The legislation we are introducing is a sensible and fiscally responsible way to pump essential credit back into America’s small business. I applaud the President’s plan and look forward to working with my colleagues on the Small Business Committee and the entire Senate to providing the support and resources small businesses in Maryland and around the country.”
The Landrieu-Cardin bill would:
- Increase the maximum 7(a) loan to $5 million (up from a maximum of $2 million).
- Increase the maximum 504 loan to $5.5 million (up from a maximum of $1.5 million).
- Increase the maximum microloan to $50,000 (up from a maximum of $35,000).
- Enhance refinancing of 504 loans.
- Allow microloan intermediaries to have greater access to technical assistance grants.
- Increase the amount that a New Market Venture Capital Company can invest in any one company, helping fast-growing businesses located in areas with chronic underemployment.
- Remove Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) contracting exemption that was included in the Recovery Act.
- Allow ARC loans to be used to help borrowers with existing 7(a) loans.
Senator Cardin was instrumental in crafting the small business provisions of the ARRA, which included his amendment increasing the limit on SBA surety bonds from $2 million to $5 million. He has also pushed to repeal the Recovery Act provision that excluded NIH funds from the requirement to dedicate 2.8% of external research funds to the SBIR and STTR programs. Last June, Cardin chaired a field hearing in Montgomery County, at which the SBA and Maryland biotech companies testified about the value of the SBIR and STTR programs in generating jobs and medical discoveries.
“SBIR and STTR have proven track records in leading the way for biotech advances. We would all reap tremendous benefits if they had access to stimulus funds. I am proud to cosponsor the Landrieu bill, which would enable small businesses to get their fair share of NIH stimulus dollars as Congress intended,” said Senator Cardin.