The House on Thursday passed legislation that would expand reporting requirements under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to LGBTQ-owned businesses.
The House passed H.R. 1443, in a 252-176 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate. The Biden Administration has indicated that if it passes the Senate, the president will sign the measure.
Earlier this month, House Democrats attempted to quickly pass the bill through an expedited process that would have required passage by a two-thirds margin. That attempt failed. So they brought the bill back to the floor under the regular House process, which only requires a simple majority to pass.
During floor debate Thursday, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-CA. said the bill would help ensure financial institutions report the sexual orientation and gender identity of applicants for business loans.
“This legislation is needed because research shows that LGBTQ individuals have experienced discrimination when applying for a mortgage or other forms of credit,” she said. “However, due to a lack of data collection, we do not know the extent of discrimination when it comes to business loans, who has been affected, and, more importantly, how it can be corrected.”
House Financial Services Committee ranking Republican Patrick McHenry of North Carolina said he supported the legislation because it does not impose a mandatory reporting regime. “Any loan applicant who does not want to provide information can decline to provide it, meaning there are fewer concerns over privacy because it is voluntary and fewer concerns over one-size- fits-all data reporting,” he said.
In a “Statement of Administration Policy, issued last week, the Office of Management and Budget said that the Biden Administration strongly supports greater gender equity for the LGBTQ community.
“Too often, businesses from underserved communities, including the LGBTQ community, struggle to access capital and credit,” the administration said. “This bill recognizes these challenges and takes steps to increase transparency and accountability around lending to LGBTQ-owned small businesses.”