Cantwell Stresses Importance of Small Business Lending for Economic Growth

Pledges to work with SBA's Mills to move forward on SBA, lending bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) sent a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills highlighting the senator’s commitment to enhancing the SBA’s ability to help small business through the economic downturn.  The letter was sent as Mills and other SBA staff toured small businesses in northwest Washington, including Mud Bay, a chain pet store that expanded with the help of a loan program enhanced by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).   The Senate is set to take up a small business jobs bill next week. It includes a $30 billion fund to provide capital to community banks for small business lending.         


“For the SBA to effectively play its important role in turning the economy around, Congress needs to live up to its obligations and provide your organization with all the tools it needs,” wrote Cantwell.  “Next week, the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on a bill that will create small business jobs by improving access to credit, cutting taxes to strengthen investment and promote entrepreneurship, and make improvements to important SBA programs, including the Section 7(a) and 504 lending programs, as well as trade and export finance programs.”


Cantwell has been voicing concerns conveyed by small business owners about a sharp drop-off in small business lending in Washington state stemming from unavailability of lending capital. She is co-sponsoring bills to ease access to capital for small businesses.  All of these bipartisan bills have passed out of the Senate Small Business Committee.


S. 2869, the Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009:

·         Increase loan limits on 7(a) loans from $2 million to $5 million, on 504 loans from $1.5 million to $5.5 million and on microloans from $35,000 to $50,000

·         Extends the authorization to provide 90 percent guarantees on 7(a) loans and fee elimination for borrowers on 7(a) and 504 loans through December 31, 2010.

·         SBA estimates this loan increase would increase lending to small businesses by $5 billion in the first year.


S. 2862, the Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act of 2009:

·         Would improve the SBA’s trade and export programs and adds export finance specialists to SBA’s trade counseling programs

·         Establishes the State Export Promotion Grant Program (STEP), which would increase the number of small businesses that export. 

·         Leverages more than $1 billion in export capital for small businesses, creating/saving as many as 40,000 - 50,000 jobs in 2010.


S. 2989, the Small Business Contracting Improvement Act of 2010:

·         Closes loopholes and eases payment concerns for subcontractors

·         Eases restrictions on teaming agreements and JV arrangements so small businesses have an opportunity to go after larger contracts

·         Increasing contracts to small businesses by just 1 percent can create more than 100,000 jobs.