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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today passed the Small Business Lending Reauthorization Act, a bill sponsored by U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), which would increase the authorization level of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) program. 

“Access to capital remains one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners,” said Senator Risch. “The 7(a) program has helped provide billions of dollars to America’s small businesses, the engine that drives American job creation and our economy.”

“Small businesses are critical to Michigan’s continued economic recovery, and the 7(a) program provides the necessary capital for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Congress must act to strengthen the SBA’s 7(a) loan program, and I am pleased that this bill has passed the Small Business Committee with widespread bipartisan support,” said Senator Peters. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure passage in the full Senate.”

"We applaud Senators Risch, Peters, Gardner, Ayotte, and Shaheen for their support of small business lending. Just half way through FY 2015, we are seeing unprecedented loan volume -- an indication of a growing small business economy that still cannot find long-term financing from today’s conventional market and so must turn to the SBA 7(a) loan program,” said Tony Wilkinson, the President and CEO of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders. 7(a) loans have helped hundreds of thousands of small businesses open their doors, create jobs, and grow and expand, all at no cost to taxpayers.

The SBA’s 7(a) loan program offers loans to small businesses which are provided by private banks and other institutions and a percentage is guaranteed by the SBA.  Last year more than $19 billion in 7(a) loans were distributed to small businesses.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and now moves to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.