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Shaheen & Leahy Legislation to Support Small Businesses with National Guard and Military Reservists Clears Key Committee Hurdle

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) issued the following statements after their legislation to support small businesses with National Guard and Military Reservists unanimously passed the Senate Small Business Committee. The National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Act will assist small businesses when essential employees, including small business owners, are called up as part of National Guard or Reservist duties, by improving existing loan and deferral programs of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and making them more accessible. These programs include the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL), a direct loan program that provides emergency working capital to small businesses to meet their obligations until operations return to normal after the essential employee is released from active duty military, and the Repayment Deferral for Active Duty Reservists (Repayment Deferral), which authorizes the SBA to work with private lenders to defer interest or loan repayment for small businesses facing similar situations.

“Citizen soldiers are a fundamental part of our nation’s military, and we need to do everything we can to support their service,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill will do just that by improving access to support programs offered by the SBA to entrepreneurs and small businesses affected by deployments, and I am pleased to see it moving forward with broad bipartisan support.”

“The National Guard and our small businesses are foundational threads in the fabric of Vermont,” said Senator Leahy, the Co-Chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus. “I’m pleased to support them with this legislation that makes it easier for veterans and service members to turn their ideas into reality.  Empowering the entrepreneurial spirit in this and other ways makes a real difference for Vermonters and for our communities.”

"On behalf of the more than 45,000 members of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), we greatly appreciate Senator Shaheen's legislation to support small businesses owned by Guardsmen and Reservists,” said BG (Retired) J. Roy Robinson, NGAUS President. “This commonsense bill not only assists our citizen-soldiers who run small businesses, but also encourages future entrepreneurship by increasing the eligibility and utilization of the Military Reservists Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and the Repayment Deferral for Activity Duty Reservists. We also thank the Senate Small Business Committee for their support and urge the Senate to adopt this vitally important bill."