April 2022 Advocacy Update

Washington State of Play

House Passes Small Business Package 

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed HR 3807, The Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022. The small-business pandemic aid package would provide $42 billion for additional restaurant relief and $13 billion for other “hard hit” industries, totaling $55 billion for businesses. Among other provisions, the bill would:

  • Provide $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program, which will assist small businesses with 200 or fewer employees that have experienced 40 percent or more in lost revenue.
  • Update the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to provide entertainment venues with more time and flexibility to use federal relief funds.
  • Offset program funding by utilizing recovered money from fraud cases in pandemic relief programs
  • Deliver $30 million total to the SBA Inspector General, DOJ’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, to further investigate and recover fraudulent funds

Senate COVID-19 Package on Hold

Senators will hold off until after April recess to vote on the $10 billion package to provide additional funding for the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic. The package, announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), would redirect billions of dollars to fund investments in therapeutics, testing and vaccine distribution. Despite global pandemic aid being left out of the package, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is projecting confidence in the House. 

FY23 Appropriations Underway

Following the publication of the FY23 President’s Budget last month, the Small Business Administration published their FY23 budget request and justification to Congress. This release, which includes SBA’s FY23 request of $26 million for the WBC program, kicks off the appropriations process for those concerned with funding for small business and entrepreneurship. View the FY23 CBJ here.

USICA Gearing up for Conference

The “China competitiveness package” known now as the United States Innovation and Competition Act (Senate) or the America COMPETES Act (House), focused on increasing innovation in US industry and global competition is gearing up for a formal Conference with House lawmakers. Major points of contention preventing a swift motion to conference include opposition from Senator Bernie Sanders on whether to strike $50 billion for innovation in US semiconductor industries (a big priority for the industry) and $10 billion for space exploration and research.

DOT $26 Million Award to Banks that Increased Investment in Distressed Communities 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced plans to award $26 million divided between 158 FDIC-insured banks for their work to increase investment in severely distressed communities across the U.S. All $26 million will be further invested into the same distressed and underserved communities, further generating economic growth in those areas.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed

On Thursday, the Senate voted in a 53-47 vote to confirm Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court justice. She will be the first Black woman to join the Supreme Court, a significant moment in American history. The Supreme court remains under a conservative majority.

President Biden Announces Changes to ACA

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced a change regarding Affordable Care Act subsidies. The proposed change recalculates what is considered “affordable”, which was previously determined by the cost of coverage for the employee, for a family with employer-based health insurance. Additional information around this change can be found here.

SBA Announces FY2022 – 2026 Strategic Plan

The SBA announced the dual publication of their FY 2022 – 2026 Strategic Plan and Enterprise Learning AgendaAs indicated, the publications are separate but related. The Strategic Plan serves to educate small business owners and advocates on the SBA’s long-term goals, objectives, and strategies to meet the goals and dreams of entrepreneurs. Behind the Strategic Plan is the Enterprise Learning Agenda, which puts forth a research and evaluation agenda to help shape SBA’s Strategic Plan. The release of the Enterprise Learning Agenda is the product of a number of small business advocates and stakeholders submitting a series of federal comments.

SBA Reforms to Community Advantage

The SBA has unveiled new reforms to the Community Advantage loan program, including:

  • Extending the pilot program through September 30, 2024
  • Lifting the four-year lender moratorium to help the SBA grow its leadership network
  • Allowing lenders to access the SBA’s 7(a) government-guaranteed loan program at lending levels up to $350,000
  • Removing the restrictions that can keep individuals with criminal backgrounds from accessing the Community Advantage program
  • Simplify underwriting and collateral requirements for borrowers and lenders, including increasing the maximum unsecured loan size from $25,000 to $50,000
  • Introduce additional abilities for lenders to make revolvers and lines of credit, interest-only periods, and other loan modifications that meet borrowers where they are to best serve their capital needs
  • Redefine packaging fee guidelines to better enable CDFIs, CDCs, and mission lenders participating in the Community Advantage program to scale and increase volume to underserved communities

By Ashlyn Roberts

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