Rule proposed to include faith-based organizations in seven Small Business Administration programs

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This April 24, 2020 file photo shows the empty outdoor seating area at the closed Franciscan Crab Restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Restaurant owners and executives across the country fear they’ll have to repay thousands of dollars in potentially forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program because rules written by the Small Business Administration are out of sync with the reality these businesses face _ many are still shut down by state and local government orders, and those that have reopened have drastically reduced revenue. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — A new rule has been proposed to remove exclusions of faith-based organizations from seven agency programs in the U.S.

The United States Small Business Administration has proposed a rule to eliminate regulations that exclude faith-based organizations from seven agency programs. The SBA is now accepting public comments.

According to the SBA, these programs could include the Intermediary Lending Program, Business Loan programs; 7(a), Microloan and the 504 program; Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Military Reservist Ecnomic Injury Disaster Loan rogram and Immediate Disaster Assistance program.

The SBA stated that this rule would ensure that their programing would provide equal treatment for faith-based organization. The Administration further added that this would correspond with the President’s Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza commented on the proposal.

“Today’s proposed rule would remove barriers to SBA loans and disaster assistance that current regulations unfairly impose on faith-based businesses and organizations,” said Carranza.  “America’s faith-based small businesses and organizations play a vital role in providing employment opportunities, products, and essential educational, training and youth social services that benefit both our local communities and the overall national economy.  Today’s proposed rule would ensure that these businesses and organizations are not forced to choose between their faith and the SBA financial assistance that they need to continue serving the public and employing our neighbors.”

Public comments on this proposal will be accepting by the U.S. Small Business Administration through February 18, 2021. Comments will be accepted and posted on the U.S. Government’s regulations website.

To submit a comment, participants must use the RIN number: RIN 3245-AH60, or comment by mail to Valerie Mills, Executive Operations Officer, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416.

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