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January 27, 2024

Democratic Co-Chairs of the Congressional Second Chance Task Force Applaud the Biden-Harris Administration’s Expansion of SBA Loan Access for Returning Citizens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 27, 2024

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

Democratic Co-Chairs of the Congressional Second Chance Task Force Applaud the Biden-Harris Administration’s Expansion of SBA Loan Access for Returning Citizens

Today, U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), both co-chairs of the Congressional Second Chance Task Force, released a statement applauding Vice President Kamala Harris’ announcement supporting the elimination of current SBA capital program restrictions on Americans who have completed their sentences for past crimes, including Americans on parole and probation. 

“Every year, more than 700,000 individuals are released from our nation’s jails and prisons, the vast majority of whom struggle to successfully rebuild their lives because of a lack of opportunity – a lack of a real second chance.

“Without question, this rule change will create jobs, bolster our local economies, and reduce recidivism. By allowing returning citizens to access the same financial resources as every other American, we are empowering them to provide a better future for themselves, their families, and their surrounding communities.

“Our work is far from over in fully reforming our criminal justice system, but this is a welcomed announcement by Vice President Kamala Harris to continue our progress.”

According to the announcement, this change will:

  • Standardize the eligibility rules across SBA capital programs, including the 7(a) Loan Program, 504 Loan Program, Disaster Loan Program, Microloan Program, and Surety Bond Guarantee Program—which collectively provide over $40 billion in capital annually to small businesses. 
  • Reduce confusion and subjectivity (e.g., what is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”).  
  • Eliminate the need to ask for detailed personal criminal history on Form 912, instead asking a straightforward question on incarceration and verifying the response using a third-party database check.  
  • Continue to allow SBA lenders to follow their own policies on criminal background checks