Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reintroduced a bill Thursday (March 25) that seeks to block companies in China or partially owned by Chinese citizens from receiving U.S. small business loans.
Senator Rubio, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced the Preventing SBA Assistance From Going to China Act on Thursday, which would prevent the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from granting loans to any company headquartered in China or owned more than 25 percent by a Chinese national. small businesses that are based in China or are more than 25 percent owned by Chinese nationals. This is part of a broader effort to combat the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
Current law allows the SBA to issue guaranteed loans, disaster loans and R&D grants, among other things, to eligible small businesses in the United States. Many Chinese companies operating in the United States are technically eligible for these grants.
“An analysis published last August by Horizon Advisory said that more than 125 companies owned by or invested in by Chinese entities received small business grants under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Paycheck Protection Program) received loans from the Small Business Administration and emergency loans from the Treasury Department, totaling between $192 million and $429 million.
“American businesses are no strangers to the wide variety of tactics used by Chinese companies to curb competition,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement. “The use of taxpayer-subsidized Small Business Administration programs used to promote our small businesses is one of the most egregious acts. This bill will ensure that American taxpayer dollars do not give Chinese companies an unfair advantage over small businesses in the United States.”
Joining Senator Rubio in introducing this bill are Senators Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, and John Kennedy, from Louisiana. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, plans to introduce a similar bill in the House.
Senator Rubio had introduced this bill in the Senate in early 2019, and the bill did not make significant legislative progress in the last Congress.