Written by The Business Journal Staff
The U.S. Small Business Administration proposed a rule Tuesday to remove regulations that currently exclude faith-based organizations from borrowing under seven types of business loans and disaster programs.
Programs under the current provision include the Intermediary Lending Program (ILP), Business Loan programs such as 7(a), Microloan and 504 programs, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) program and Immediate Disaster Assistance Program (IDAP).
The SBA agrees that because the current provisions exclude otherwise eligible borrowers, the rules contradict the First Amendment. By eliminating the regulations, the SBA would provide equal opportunity to faith-based organizations, according to a news release.
“Today’s proposed rule would remove barriers to SBA loans and disaster assistance that current regulations unfairly impose on faith-based businesses and organizations,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.
The proposal would align with the President’s Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.
“America’s faith-based small businesses and organizations play a vital role in providing employment opportunities, products, and essential educational, training and youth social services that benefit both our local communities and the overall national economy. Today’s proposed rule would ensure that these businesses and organizations are not forced to choose between their faith and the SBA financial assistance that they need to continue serving the public and employing our neighbors,” said Carranza.
The SBA is inviting public comment on the proposal until Feb. 18. at www.regulations.gov, using the following RIN number: RIN 3245-AH60. The public may also comment by mail to Valerie Mills, Executive Operations Officer, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416. The SBA will post all comments to www.regulations.gov.
The proposed change comes on the last full day in the administration of President Trump.