Three bills show Congress can deliver for small business despite divisions | Gene Marks

Proposals making their way through the legislative process are under the radar but have bipartisan backing

Three bills are working their way through Congress that can provide significant help for small businesses. Do you know what they all have in common? Welcome signs of bipartisan support for small business.

The first is the 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2021. This bill, which passed the House in mid-April and is awaiting a Senate vote, is designed to make the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 Loan Program more accessible to manufacturers through certified development company (CDC) intermediaries. The manufacturers would be able to apply for the funding – which can be as much as $6.5m – if they can show that funds will be used for energy efficiency or aid in the revitalization of a disaster area. The bill increases the loan amount available for small manufacturers and relaxes some collateral requirements, as well requiring the SBA to provide training.

Why is this bill important? Because it directs capital to manufacturers and leverages the underused CDCs. “Too many people are not as familiar with institutions like certified development companies,” says the Democratic representative Sharice Davids, a co-sponsor of the bill. “But they have a really great track record of servicing and helping small businesses who are either unbanked or underbanked.”

Next is the Opportunity Zone Extension Act. Sponsored by the Republican representative Tim Burchett, this bill was introduced in the House in February and awaits a vote. It extends for two years the election and capital gain deferral periods for qualified opportunity zones (defined as an economically distressed community where private investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for capital gain tax incentives).

The bill incentivizes investments in small companies located in areas that need it the most. “If people don’t invest, the property falls into disrepair,” says Burchett. “But if there’s investment then jobs can be created, there’ll be more encouragement for further investments. I just think it’s a winning opportunity for our rural America and our inner-city America.”

Finally, there’s the Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act of 2021. Passed in the House in September 2020 and re-introduced this year, the bill establishes a 5% technical assistance grant for certain financing intermediaries, including intermediaries who make 25% of their loans to rural small businesses.

“It just really helps ensure that the Small Business Administration (SBA) gives rural small businesses access to micro loans,” Burchett, who also sponsors the bill, says. “I just don’t feel like people should be overlooked because of their location or maybe the color of their skin or the region that they grew up.”

The bill also requires the SBA to report certain metrics related to the disbursement of microloans to small businesses.

Yes, these bills all help small businesses – particularly small manufacturers, businesses in low to moderate income areas and rural companies – get more funding from the federal government. But there’s a bigger thing that these bills have in common: they’re very, very bipartisan.

For example, the 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2021 is co-sponsored by five Republicans (including Burchett) and three Democrats. The Opportunity Zone Extension Act has nine Republicans and two Democrats signed on. The Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act of 2021 has three Republicans and two Democrats on board.

Unfortunately, these bills don’t get much media attention because they’re not headline-worthy. But for many small business owners, their passage could mean the difference between growth and stagnation, survival or demise.

So, yes, political infighting makes a juicy story. But behind the scenes, there are some issues that both parties can agree on and one of those issues is supporting small businesses.


Gene Marks

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The new Congress will do nothing for small business – and that's fine by us | Gene Marks
With Democrats and Republicans each controlling one chamber, gridlock is a certainty – which is great because small business hates uncertainty

Gene Marks

10, Jan, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
Yes, some US small business owners actually support the $600 weekly benefit | Gene Marks
Many employers believe the weekly unemployment boost should continue because it has provided a safety net for their employees

Gene Marks

09, Aug, 2020 @11:00 AM

Article image
Pot blocks: obstacles keep small business owners from a multibillion-dollar market
Marijuana retail sales could reach $4.3bn this year and create new jobs, but some aspiring entrepeneurs warn that weed is not an easy business

Arvind Dilawar

31, Dec, 2016 @12:00 PM

Article image
The economy may be good for small business owners – if they're Republican | Gene Marks
The Small Business Confidence Index found most owners were happy with the current conditions – but 68% of the businesses were owned by Republicans

Gene Marks

08, Dec, 2019 @11:00 AM

Article image
How the Small Business Administration’s new chief plans to make the agency known
‘We want to be known,’ says Isabella Guzman. And she plans to do that by hiring the best and the brightest

Gene Marks

20, Jun, 2021 @9:00 AM

Article image
Trump's Small Business Administration pick will have her work cut out for her | Gene Marks
Sure, Jovita Carranza will join Trump’s cabinet, but she has no influence. Her real job is to take an agency which already does great work and make it better

Gene Marks

04, Aug, 2019 @10:00 AM

Article image
Will there be a recession? What small business owners can expect in 2019 | Gene Marks
How business owners tackle these issues will impact the long term sustainability of their companies

Gene Marks

23, Dec, 2018 @12:00 PM

Article image
Why small business needs big business | Gene Marks
Up to half of small businesses’ revenues come from big firms and those companies’ employees are also their customers

Gene Marks

20, Oct, 2019 @10:00 AM

Article image
I'm a champion of small business – but I hate Small Business Saturday | Gene Marks
The annual US celebration of small businesses is demeaning. If we’re good at what we do, we don’t need acts of charity

Gene Marks

18, Nov, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Five things Congress may do that will affect your business this year
And three that Congress will probably not do but will dominate the news

Gene Marks

23, Aug, 2019 @10:00 AM