House Appropriators Increase FY2015 Funding for Lending & Counseling Programs Important to AEO
June 25, 2014 – The full House Appropriations Committee approved its FY2015 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bill, which covers spending for the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, as well as other related agencies.
The lending and counseling programs AEO supports and advocated for received either continued or increased funding over current funding levels – no small feat under the current fiscal environment – despite spending cuts in the overall bill. The FY2015 FSGG bill is $566 million (2.6%) below the current FY2014 funding level and nearly 10% below the President’s FY2015 Budget request.
A significant victory is the restoration and increase in funding for the SBA’s Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), which had been slated for elimination. AEO’s policy team successfully advocated to continue the program and increase funding to $5 million, an increase of $1.5 million over current funding levels.
FY2014 Funding levels contained in the FY2015 FSGG Appropriations bill:
PRIME $5 Million (42% increase)
Microloan – Lending $25 Million (continued)
Microloan – TA $20 Million (continued)
Women’s Business Centers $15 Million (7% increase)
SBDCs $115 Million (2% increase)
Boots2Business $7.5 Million (7% increase)
Office of Advocacy $8.75 Million (3% increase)
CDFI Fund $230 Million (2% increase)
In addition, the bill provides funding to allow the SBA to support $18.5 billion in 7(a) loans and $7.5 billion in 504 loans.
At our recommendation, the Committee inserted report language urging the SBA to focus on lending to “true small businesses,” which the Committee defines as those with five or fewer employees. The Committee, noting that loans between $50,000 and $350,000 to these businesses have decreased since 2007, expressed support for the SBA’s Small Loan Advantage platform, of which the Community Advantage loan program is a part.
These victories are the result of AEO members and partners who actively support the Policy Team’s efforts to educate and advocate for programs important to the microbusiness development industry. Their continued engagement plays a crucial role in ensuring the survival programs like the PRIME Program and helped reinforce AEO’s funding recommendations on Capitol Hill.
The FY2015 FSGG appropriations bill will now go to the full House for consideration, likely in July. The Senate is expected to review its version of the FSGG funding bill in the next few weeks.