Remember the EXCEL Act? Not many people do.
The acronym stands for Expanding Access to Capital for Entrepreneurial Leaders. The bill was first introduced in 2012. It was supposed to increase the amount of capital available to small businesses through a program regulated by the Small Business Administration. Most recently re-introduced to the Senate in September 2013, it is still awaiting a debate on the floor and a vote.
Despite support from Democrats and Republican in Washington, it has gone nowhere. Still, some on Capitol Hill say the idea behind the legislation isn’t dead yet.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) touched on the EXCEL Act during the confirmation hearing of Maria Contreras-Sweet as new administrator of the SBA. Landrieu said the bill could have helped up to 40 small businesses and created close to 2,000 jobs immediately if it had passed. Landrieu wanted Contreras-Sweet to affirm her support for the EXCEL Act and other measures that would help small businesses get access to long-term capital.
The legislation was first introduced by Landrieu during National Small Business Week in 2012, and was re-introduced to the Senate in September 2013. The Louisiana Senator said her bill had bi-partisan support but was held up from passing by “a handful” of legislators. Landrieu was, until last week, chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
As a refresher, here are some more details on the EXCEL Act:
If passed, the bill would actually amend the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program.
First, it sets the maximum amount of debt that the Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee under the SBIC program at $4 billion per year. That’s an increase from $3 billion currently. It’s believed the increase in the SBA’s leverage limit would encourage more private investment funds as a result.
Provisions in the legislation would encourage banks to offer more SBA-backed loans. But it would also direct small businesses that are denied loans back to the SBA for more guidance. The bill would encourage banks, individual investors, and local municipalities to invest in SBIC Funds, according to a Small Business Committee report.
SBICs are private investment funds regulated by the SBA that invest in qualified small businesses with private capital and money borrowed through SBA guaranteed securities.
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