WASHINGTON (11/02/09)--H.R. 3854, the Small Business Financing and Investment Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 389-32 late Thursday. Of particular interest to credit unions are portions of the legislation that would temporarily extend increased Small Business Administration loan guarantees that were enacted in recent Federal stimulus bills. The legislation, as currently written, also increases eligibility for, and loan limits under, the SBA's Microloan program which provides small-scale loans to startup, newly-established, or growing small businesses for working capital or the acquisition of materials, supplies, or equipment. The bill would also establish an SBA program to help finance “early-stage small businesses in specified targeted industries.” The bill will now move on to the Senate. In comments delivered on the House floor, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) praised the bill as “a bipartisan product” that “addresses a key concern for small firms, and ensures they have the resources to help grow our economy.” Velázquez in her statement also cited portions of the bill that would open “new avenues for seed capital and microloans” for “the aspiring entrepreneur,” provide “fresh funds for investment” for mid-market ventures, and create “room for targeted risk and innovation” for “the established business.” “Through innovation and ingenuity, small businesses have created enormous wealth for our nation. But America’s economic engine doesn’t run on good ideas alone. Small firms need capital to not only get off the ground, but to operate and grow. That’s why H.R. 3854 delivers better funding options to small firms at every stage of development,” Velázquez said.