Legislation to help small-business owners who serve in the National Guard has passed the Senate and could be approved by the House in the coming weeks.
The National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Act — which NGAUS endorsed — was unanimously passed by the Senate on Thursday.
If the legislation becomes law, it would improve existing loan and deferral programs with the Small Business Administration to help businesses when essential employees or owners mobilize for National Guard or Reservist duties.
Earlier this year, NGAUS president, retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, called the legislation a commonsense bill that “not only assists our citizen-soldiers who run small businesses, but also encourages future entrepreneurship by increasing the eligibility and utilization of the Military Reservists Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and the Repayment Deferral for Active Duty Reservists.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who co-sponsored the legislation, praised its passage in the Senate and urged the House of Representatives to take on the bill.
“The civilian men and women serving in our National Guard have committed to serve our country, and we need to have their backs,” Shaheen said. “I’m very pleased that this legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support, because it will provide much-needed assistance to entrepreneurs and small business employees who are deployed.
“I will continue to work across the aisle and with SBA to support these critical programs and I urge the House to pass this legislation to support our National Guard,” she added.
The National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Act was first introduced in 2016 and has previously been included as an amendment to various other pieces of legislation. This year’s bill will need to pass the House before Congress adjourns later this month.