WASHINGTON (6/18/10)—A government-backed $30 billion fund that would ease the ability of small banks to lend to customers who own small businesses inched one step closer to becoming law on Thursday. The House bill, which would provide funds that small community banks could then use to lend to small businesses, passed by a 241-182 vote. It is not entirely clear where that $30 billion in funding would come from. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and a growing list of backers, including the U.S. Treasury, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.), and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), have posited that the current lending crunch could be eased by lifting the 12.25% of assets cap on credit union member business lending. Both Udall and Kanjorski have prepared separate bills that would increase the MBL cap, and Kanjorski’s bill continues to enjoy strong support in the House. The Treasury also recently proposed lifting the MBL cap to as high as 27.5% of total assets, and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has said that that committee would soon take up the topic of MBLs. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap to 25% of a credit union's assets would create over 100,000 new jobs and inject over $10 billion in funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.