Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow the Small Business Administration to provide backing for more loans.
The legislation would raise the ceiling for the SBA's primary loan program to $23.5 billion, from $18.75 billion. Barring congressional action, the agency's 7(a) small business lending program is due to reach the current lending limit allowed for this fiscal year as early as next week.
The bill is similar to legislation introduced by Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, which passed the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee in April with bipartisan support. The Senate bill would authorize an increase in the loan volume cap to $20.5 billion for the rest of the federal government's 2015 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, and to $23.5 billion for the next fiscal year.
"It would be inexcusable for Congress to leave out in the cold small firms looking to build a new facility or purchase equipment," Rep. Velazquez, also a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said in a press release. "This initiative creates jobs, fuels growth and does not cost the taxpayer a cent. It would be nothing short of legislative malpractice to not extend it through the summer."
A spokesperson for House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said he was still weighing his options regarding the SBA's lending program.