Washington, D.C.— Today, the House passed four bipartisan bills to improve the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan program, increase small business exporting opportunities, and expand federal small business initiatives to the Northern Mariana Islands, the only U.S. jurisdiction not currently covered by these SBA programs.
“Staying true to the tradition of our Committee, the bills passed today are all bipartisan and passed through the committee by unanimous consent thanks to the cooperation of Members on both sides of the aisle,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Today, the House has acted to make a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs by improving a key SBA program, creating more opportunities for small businesses looking to grow their business abroad, and introducing programs to spur small business development in the Northern Mariana Islands.”
This bill reauthorizes SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot grant initiative through 2024 and makes several improvements to the program, including standardizing the application process and increasing grant spending flexibility.
This bill makes it easier for lenders to provide affordable microloans and technical assistance to entrepreneurs. It takes steps to lower interest rates, extend repayment terms, and eliminate the 1/55 rule.
This bill expands the Small Businesses Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Lead Center grant program and the Federal and State Technology (FAST) partnership grant program to the Northern Mariana Islands, the only U.S. jurisdiction not currently covered by these SBA programs.
This bill offers additional technical assistance to microlenders in rural areas. It also increases the transparency of the microloan program by requiring SBA to report key metrics including average interest, fee, and default rates.
To watch lawmakers speak on the House floor in support of these bills, click here.