The U.S. House of Representatives has passed Rep. Tim Burchett's first unique piece of legislation, a bill designed to make it easier for "Mom and Pop" businesses to get small loans.
The bill, called the Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act, unanimously passed the House last week, with Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey joining Burchett in support.
Burchett, a Knoxville Republican freshman, has joined multiple other congressmen in supporting other pieces of legislation. Hundreds of bills are offered every session.
This is the first bill he's authored that has made it out of the House.
The bill would dangle the incentive of a 5 percent technical assistance grant to what are called microloan intermediaries that work with rural small businesses.
Such organizations would have to make at least a quarter of their loans to rural small businesses to get the technical assistance grant.
The SBA's microloan program provides loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000.
Burchett said last week on the House floor that easier access to microloans can help "Mom and Pop" businesses in rural areas. Sometimes all they need is just a small loan to help endure hardship, he said.
The SBA provides funds to specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit community-based organizations with experience in lending as well as management and technical assistance. These intermediaries administer the microloan program for eligible borrowers.
The Burchett-Kim bill also requires the SBA to annually update Congress with a risk analysis of the portfolio getting the microloans.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Burchett is seeking a second term. He's opposed on the Nov. 3 ballot by Democrat Renee Hoyos.