House passes LGBTQ small business loan data collection bill

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The House of Representatives approved a bill on June 24 that would collect data on small business loans to LGBTQ-owned businesses.

The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act, or HR 1443, led by gay Congressman from the Bronx Ritchie Torres, was passed with a margin of 252-176. Legislators managed to pass the measure just weeks after unsuccessfully trying to get it through a fast-track legislative process called a rule suspension, which stipulates that two-thirds of the House must approve its passage. At the first test on June 15, 177 republicans voted against the legislation, block it effectively. However, the latest vote tally shows that the Republican lawmaker Lee M. Zeldin of Long Island now supports the bill after voting against it.

New York Republican lawmakers still oppose legislation in second attempt, including House officials Claudia Tenney from upstate New York; Elise M. Stefanik, whose northern district of New York borders Canada; and Chris Jacobs from western New York.

According to the text of the bill, HR 1443 would amend the Equality Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to prohibit credit discrimination and require that “LGBTQ-owned” businesses be included alongside “minority-owned” businesses. »When they are mentioned in the ECOA. Also, “sexual orientation and gender identity” should be mentioned after “sex” in the ECOA.

Torres applauded lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for approving the bill, which was first introduced in February.

“This bill would make credit more accessible, credit laws more enforceable and creditors more responsible,” Torres said in a written statement after the vote. “It represents a triumph of transparency in the service of economic opportunities for all, no matter who you are or who you love. We have a vested interest in supporting and strengthening these businesses with equal access to credit, which is the beating heart of the US economy. I am proud to lead efforts to get results for LGBTQ small business owners as we continue to rebuild our economy. “

Torres has worked on LGBTQ small business law since his tenure on New York City Council. Two years ago he spearheaded legislation requiring the New York City Department of Small Business Services to certify LGBTQ-owned businesses and publish a directory of these businesses. This year, the Department of Small Business Services announced that small gay-owned businesses would begin to have access to municipal contracts, educational programs and other benefits.

Gay representative David Cicilline from Rhode Island, main sponsor of the Equality Act in the lower room, said it was a step towards eliminating anti-LGBTQ bias in financial institutions.

“The Equality Caucus is proud to see movement on another of our legislative priorities, the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit and Investment Act,” Cicilline said in a written statement. “For too long, programs designed to help minority communities have left LGBTQ people behind. That is starting to change as a result of today’s vote in the House. I thank [Equality Caucus] Co-Chair Ritchie Torres for his tireless efforts to move this file forward. I look forward to continuing to deliver results for our community this Pride Month. “

Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell, co-founders of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on the queer business community, said collecting LGBTQ-specific data is key to dismantling uneven lending practices.

“We can’t fix what we don’t track, so we need to pass HR 1443 so that the US economy can reach its full potential,” Nelson and Mitchell said in a statement. “America’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners add more than $ 1.7 trillion and tens of thousands of new jobs to the US economy each year, despite the barriers they face in accessing capital, contracts, etc.

Last month, legislation authorized the financial services committee following changes including LGBTQ announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In March, the CFPB noted that the law on equal credit opportunities the prohibition of sex discrimination would cover sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The change came in response to last year’s Supreme Court ruling outlawing discrimination in LGBTQ employment.

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