U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is closing a historically productive session in Congress with the planned signing of a bill she sponsored intended to bring investment dollars to small businesses outside urban centers.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation, originally sponsored by McMorris Rodgers, that updates a 1958 federal law insuring loans from investment firms to businesses that have fewer than 500 employees or earn less than $7.5 million in receipts annually. Lawmakers contended investment firms in financial centers such as Chicago and New York were receiving a majority of the investment dollars under the program and that priority should be given to applications in areas where few such investment firms exist.
Of the 1,151 small businesses nationwide that received assistance through the program in 2018, only 10 were based in Washington state, according to the most recent report of the federal Small Business Administration, which runs the program. According to the report, 175 businesses in California, 124 in New York and 66 in Illinois had received help.
“My bipartisan bill, which now heads to the president’s desk to become law, will make it easier for them to form here in Eastern Washington and invest in our community and local small businesses,” McMorris Rodgers said in a statement following the Senate’s passage of the bill.
A 2017 study by the Library of Congress of 11,681 businesses nationwide that had received assistance from the program found that 3 million new jobs had been created as a result of investments backed with federal assurances.
The bill, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., passed the House of Representatives by voice vote in May. Such votes are usually taken on noncontroversial measures. The Senate, likewise, passed the legislation on voice vote Thursday.
Once signed by President Donald Trump, the bill will be McMorris Rodgers’ seventh piece of legislation to become law this year. Other measures include permanent support for those requiring speech-assistance medical devices, increased funding for medical training and a protection for ground-based weather observers at Spokane International Airport.
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