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WASHINGTON – The nation’s small businesses and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 7(a) lending program that supports many of them, won a victory in the U.S. House of Representatives with the approval of an additional $79 million in funding. The Manzullo-Velazquez Amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State (CJS) appropriations bill, named for House Small Business Committee Chairman Donald Manzullo and Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez, passed on July 7 and will provide 7(a) program funding for fiscal year 2005. The amendment passed over Republican opposition, 281 to 137. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica had urged House members to consider granting the additional funding. In a news release, the Independent Community Bankers Association of America also praised the passage saying the additional funding will be leveraged by commercial lenders to allow some $14 billion in financing according to Paul Merski, ICBA chief economist and director of federal tax policy. The House-approved SBA budget must still pass Senate appropriations process in the weeks ahead.

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