House tax writers oppose stripping loan provision from small-business bill

“I feel the loan provision should be in the ultimate bill,” Ways and Means Chairman Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) told The Hill. 

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the committee’s ranking member, agreed with Levin even though he opposed the House version of the bill because it gave the Treasury authority over which lending institution would be in charge of the small-business loans.

“I don’t see how you pass regulation reform, which essentially is going to dry up credit, then not have the ability for small businesses to have access to credit,” he told The Hill. “There is still a credit crunch out there.” 

Senate Democratic leaders appear unable to get their Republican counterparts to support their small-business bill. Like Camp, Senate Republicans oppose the Treasury controlling which institutions lend money to small businesses. 

The Senate bill currently provides approximately $12 billion in small-business tax relief and creates a $30 billion lending pool for these organizations. 

If enacted, the International Franchise Association on Tuesday estimated that the bill’s loan portion would create 40,400 jobs for franchised businesses and add more than $4 billion to economic output. 

Senate Democratic leaders have approached Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) to see if he could support the bill with the loan provision intact.

The senator said he’s considering supporting the loan provision because his state’s commercial real estate market has been hammered by the poor economy and is slated to follow the slump that struck the state’s housing market during the last several years. 

“What happened on the housing side is now happening on the business side,” he said.

In an effort to keep the fund a part of the bill, Senate Small Business Chair Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will join business leaders at a Wednesday press conference and discuss how the fund will benefit small businesses.