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Shaheen's Veterans Entrepreneurship Act Heads to President's Desk

Shaheen Joins Congressional Small Business Leaders in Applauding House Passage

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Senate and House Small Business Committee leaders applauded House passage last night of the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 (H.R. 2499). The bill would lower the cost of Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs designed to assist veterans in starting and growing their small businesses. Last week, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) amended the legislation to also increase the lending authority for the SBA’s 7(a) program, which reached its annual limit of $18.75 billion.

H.R. 2499 raises the 7(a) program’s lending authority from $18.75 billion to $23.5 billion through the end of the fiscal year and requires the SBA to communicate more consistently and quickly with Congress before the limit is reached again, all at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The legislation now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): “Many New Hampshire veterans are applying the same can-do approach they used in the military to start and grow their own small businesses, and our legislation will help them by waiving some of the fees associated with federal small business loans. I’m also very pleased that this legislation will allow the SBA’s popular 7(a) loan to start lending again. This program is a model of public-private partnership and should be allowed to grow with demand to meet the needs of small business and entrepreneurs. As this legislation heads to the President’s desk, I want to thank my colleagues in the House, Chairman Steve Chabot and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez, for their diligent bipartisan work to advance the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act and get the SBA’s most in-demand loan program up and running again. It’s great to have such strong allies on behalf of America’s small businesses on the other side of the Capitol.”

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman David Vitter (R-LA): “Supporting small businesses is not a partisan issue, which is why I’m glad to see my House colleagues act quickly to pass my sensible and timely bipartisan amendment to keep lending flowing to small businesses,” said Vitter. “I want to thank House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez for their hard work and leadership to help America’s small businesses get back to work and stop worrying about access to capital.”

House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), the House bill’s original author, said, “I am pleased that House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle not only came together to open doors for our veteran entrepreneurs, but responded quickly and efficiently to the growing demand for 7(a) loans in a way that prevents future temporary suspensions of the program and lays no additional cost on taxpayers. I appreciate the leadership and focus of everyone involved here to put our small businesses first.

House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) said, “This legislation will turn back on the spigot for small business loans guaranteed by the SBA, getting capital back into entrepreneurs’ hands.  That means more firms will have resources to invest in their operations, expand and ultimately create good paying jobs. I’m pleased we reached this compromise and look forward to seeing it swiftly enacted so that there is minimal disruption to the program.”

Earlier this year, Shaheen visited Able Ebenezer Brewing Company in Merrimack, a veteran-owned small business that was able to take advantage of the SBA’s Patriot Express loan guarantee program which would be subject to the fee waiver in Shaheen’s legislation. Last year, Daniel Proulx of Monument Construction in Nashua, came to Washington and testified in favor of the legislation. Monument was able to take advantage of an SBA 504 loan and has put a strong focus on hiring New Hampshire veterans.