WASHINGTON – By a vote of 18-1, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today reported out eleven bills that legislate important improvements across the Small Business Administration (SBA). Bipartisan legislation in the package builds on the Biden-Harris small business agenda to expand access to capital for underserved communities and increase small dollar loans. After more than ten years, Congress is legislating to make permanent the Community Advantage Pilot Program, which is SBA’s only lending program with an explicit focus on reaching underserved borrowers. In addition, this will mark the first increase in the number of SBLC licenses in 40 years. Legislation reported out makes significant changes to SBA’s lending programs by responsibly enlarging the SBLC program and codifying sensible underwriting and affiliation standards.
Chair Cardin applauded the bipartisan work and cooperation needed to move this legislation forward:
“Today, we took significant, historic strides to help address some of the most pressing needs for small business owners across the country. This includes legislating to make the Community Advantage Program permanent, something I have long fought for to meet the capital needs of underserved borrowers. The eleven bills reported out reflect the bipartisan spirit of our committee and our goal to remain laser-focused on codifying, modernizing and streamlining the Small Business Administration’s programs,” said Chair Cardin. “For the SBLC program, we ensured that there’s adequate oversight for SBA while responsibly enlarging the SBLC program, codifying sensible underwriting and affiliation standards, and incentivizing small dollar lending. I am committed to continue working in partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that the needs of underserved small businesses are met. Alongside Ranking Member Ernst, I look forward to considering additional, bipartisan legislation that we were unable to consider in this markup to help entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive.”
The SBLC and Community Advantage legislation was endorsed by the Mission Lenders Working Group, African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, and Opportunity Finance Network. “The bill recognizes the critical role of mission lenders as specialized institutions providing responsible capital to small businesses that cannot access traditional financing. OFN is pleased to support this important bill that would make permanent the Community Advantage program and enable lenders to provide the capital needed to address market,” said Dafina Williams, Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Opportunity Finance Network.
The bills reported out also extend capital to childcare businesses to help them get off the ground and expand; codify SBA’s program to help service members transition into civilian life as small business owners; encourage the commercialization of technology developed through the SBIR and STTR programs; make SBA’s disaster program fairer; and direct SBA to work in tandem with Community Development Financial Institutions and to meet the unique needs of Native American small businesses. By a vote of 18-1, the following legislation was approved en bloc:
S. 1396 – The Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act speeds up commercialization of technology developed by small businesses. Lead sponsors include Senators Coons and Rubio.
S. 1352 – The 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2023 improves SBA’s 504 loan program and raises the loan limit for small manufacturers.Lead sponsors include Senators Klobuchar and Young. Cosponsors include Senators Booker and Rubio.
S. 1345 – The 504 Credit Risk Management Improvement Act of 2023 streamlines oversight and increases transparency and reporting for the 504 program. Lead sponsors include Senators Young and Klobuchar. Senator Booker is a cosponsor for this bill.
S. 673 – The Small Business Childcare Investment Act makes non-profit childcare businesses eligible for SBA loans.Lead sponsors for this bill include Senator Rosen and Ranking Member Ernst. Cosponsors include Senators Duckworth, Rubio, and Risch.
S. 2099 -The Supporting Community Lenders Act establishes a coordinator for Community Development Financial Institutions within the SBA to help advocate for community lenders. Lead sponsors for this bill include Senators Hickenlooper, Hyde-Smith, Warner, and Braun.
S. 936 – The Supporting Small Business and Career and Technical Education Act helps technical education program graduates connect with and learn how to start small businesses.Lead sponsors for this bill include Senators Marshall and Coons and Chair Cardin.
S. 38 – The Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act codifies the Boots to Business program for the first time and helps members transition into civilian life as small business owners. Lead sponsors of this bill include Senators Duckworth and Ernst.
S. 2212 -The SBIC Advisory Committee Act of 2023 establishes an advisory committee to increase diversity among SBIC participants.
S. 1156 – The Native American Entrepreneurial and Opportunity Act creates an Associate Administrator at the Office of Native American Affairs within the SBA. Lead sponsors include Senators Hickenlooper and Lummis. Cosponsors include Senators Hirono and Mullen.
S. 943 – The Small Business Disaster Damage Fairness Act makes collateral requirements for SBA disaster loans equivalent for all disaster types. Senator Kennedy is the lead sponsor for this bill.
S. ___ – The historic bill Chair Cardin and Ranking Member Ernst worked so hard to craft that codifies the Community Advantage Loan Program and establishes sensible guardrails for Small Business Lending Companies.