Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2021 / 14:34 pm
A proposal made on the last day of the Trump administration would make religious businesses eligible to receive loans from the Small Business Administration, removing previous restrictions.
The U.S. Small Business Administration published a proposal Jan 19. that would remove five restrictions that "run afoul of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. All five provisions make certain faith-based organizations ineligible to participate in certain SBA business loan and disaster assistance programs because of their religious status," the proposal's summary states.
"Because the provisions exclude a class of potential participants based solely on their religious status, the provisions violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. SBA now proposes to remove the provisions to ensure in its business loan and disaster assistance programs the equal treatment for faith-based organizations that the Constitution requires," the summary adds.
If passed, the proposal would allow religious businesses to qualify for SBA loans, though it is unclear if it would also allow churches and other houses of worship also to be eligible, the Washington Post reported.