A freshman Democrat from Florida has paired up with an Iowa Republican to back a bill giving banks incentives to offer more credit to small businesses. 

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is backing U.S. Rep. Rod Blum’s, R-Iowa, “Access Business Credit (ABC) Act.” Blum brought out the bill back in November with Crist and U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, as original co-sponsors. Since then, U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Stevan Pearce, R-NM, joined on as co-sponsors. 

On Thursday, Blum and Crist went to bat for the bill. 

“The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to incentivize community banks to provide credit for small businesses,” Crist’s office noted. “Specifically, interest received by a lender for a small business loan would be excluded from the lender’s gross income. The ABC Act will stimulate additional credit availability and job creation through the U.S. banking system with a focus on promoting small business lending.”

The bill focuses on small businesses which is defined as those that employ less than 50 people. Even as total business loans are on the rise–increasing by a third–small business loans have been on the decline due to regulations, shrinking credit and tighter standards. 

Crist weighed in on Thursday as to why the bill was needed. 

“Small businesses are the engine that drives job creation and economic growth in our communities,” Crist said. “Capital is their lifeblood. Making it easier for community banks to make more loans to small businesses is a smart and straightforward change – strengthening Main Street, the middle class, and our economy. This is how we get things done for the American people, working together on common-sense legislation that puts the people first!”

“It is imperative for small businesses to have access to capital to grow and this bill will make sure there are resources available to help small businesses continue to thrive,” Blum said. “As a small business owner, I know what capital means to a growing business: more employees, better R&D, and increased possibilities.”

The bill was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee when Blum first brought it out in November. So far, there is no Senate counterpart.  

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