U.S. House Passes Jackson-Lee/Cao Amendment to Give Spill-Affected Businesses Special Consideration for Loans

June 17, 2010

WASHINGTON – Small businesses affected by the BP oil spill would get special consideration for loans under a measure co-sponsored by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18) and Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-02) and passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House passed the Jackson-Lee/Cao Amendment to the Small Business Lending Fund Act (H.R. 5297) before passing the Act itself–a bill meant to stimulate the nation’s economy by authorizing $30 billion for a new fund through which the Treasury Department could provide money to certain financial institutions such as community banks for lending to small businesses.

The Jackson-Lee/Cao Amendment requires the Secretary of Treasury to give special consideration to Gulf region states where businesses are suffering losses due to the spill. The bill already provided special consideration for other factors such as minority service and ownership, job protection and creation, and lack of alternative credit resources.

The Jackson-Lee/Cao Amendment passed by a vote of 414 to 0. The Small Business Lending Fund Act passed 237 to 179.

Jackson-Lee and Cao decided to team up as co-sponsors of the Amendment after each learned the other had drafted similar legislation.

Speaking on the house floor in favor the Amendment, Cao pointed out that New Orleans and Jefferson Parish were still recovering from Hurricane Katrina when hit with the BP oil spill, which he said “presents us with economic, environmental and health challenges of unprecedented proportions.”

Cao declared, “This amendment is a strong step in the right direction to providing desperately needed economic assistance because it will see that small businesses along the Gulf Coast receive the credit necessary to keep our businesses alive. At the same time it will spur new businesses which can absorb any unavoidable and unfortunate job losses caused by the oil spill.”

Jackson-Lee, also speaking on the House floor, said “this is an amendment that I’ve written and asked Mr. Cao to join me as he had a similar amendment and I appreciate very much the support that he has given and recognize the concerns that he has expressed.”

She said, “this is an excellent opportunity to protect small businesses… from tourism in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, on to the shrimpers and fishermen and oystermen and the restaurants that are now in a condition where they are shutting down, they are letting go of their employees, and they are pleading for assistance. This is a good amendment.”

The Small Business Lending Fund Act now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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