WASHINGTON — Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., is expected to introduce an amendment soon that would stave off cuts in a key Small Business Administration loan guarantee program.

The Bush administration has proposed removing $118 million from the agency’s 7(a) loan guarantee program for fiscal year 2002.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Kerry said he plans to propose an amendment to pending budget legislation that would restore the funds.

The Independent Community Bankers of America sent a letter to senators Wednesday urging them to support the Kerry measure. If the SBA loses the funding, bankers would have to raise fees on small-business loans to make up for the lost subsidy, the letter said.

The amendment “would prevent new hidden taxes in the form of additional fees imposed on small-business lenders and borrowers,” the letter said. “These increased fees would jeopardize needed lending and credit to small businesses at the worst possible time,” it said, “as our economy has slowed dramatically and small-business lending has become more difficult.”

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