06.09.16

Senate Committee OKs Bill Co-Authored By Leahy To Augment Small Business Administration Programs For Members of the National Guard and Reserves

Senate Committee OKs Bill Co-Authored By Leahy
To Augment Small Business Administration Programs
For Members of the National Guard and Reserves

. . . The National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Support Act improves access to SBA programs offering counseling, loan repayment and emergency assistance

. . . Bill also directs SBA to work with National Guard and State Adjutants General to improve outreach and generate awareness of programs

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, June 9, 2016) – A U.S. Senate committee is advancing legislation co-authored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to improve and boost access to the loan programs aimed at helping Guard members and Reservists facing financial setbacks. Their bill, approved Thursday by the Senate Small Business Committee, makes improvements in the Military Reservists Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) and Repayment Deferral for Active Duty Reservists programs.

Leahy, the co-chair of the Senate’s influential National Guard Caucus, said: “I have long believed that both the National Guard and small business communities are foundational threads in the fabric of Vermont. Getting our bill through the committee brings us a step closer to providing additional support for veterans and service members wishing to turn their entrepreneurial goals into reality.”

MREIDL is a direct loan program that provides emergency assistance to Guard/Reserve entrepreneurs experiencing hardship due to deployment, and repayment deferral for activity duty Reservists. It also authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to work with lenders to defer interest or loan repayment for Guard and Reserve members facing similar situations. Although these program have been established for many years, they have been consistently underused due to a general lack of awareness in Vermont and elsewhere.

The National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Support Act would reconfigure the programs to allow a more open availability, not limited solely to periods of conflict. The change reflects a shift in our National Guard population from a strategic reserve to be used in only a conflict between superpowers to an operational reserve that serves the nation wherever needed. Additionally, the legislation would direct the SBA to work with the National Guard Bureau and State Adjutants General to identify existing programs relevant to members of the National Guard and Reserve, in order to develop a more effective outreach, particularly during the lead up to deployments.

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