The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to restore funding for the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program, according to news services. The amendment, sponsored by Small Business Committee chairman Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) and ranking member Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), re-establishes the $79 million needed to fund the program for fiscal 2005. The measure helps lower the fee small businesses must pay when applying for an SBA-guaranteed loan. The 7(a) program is the country's largest source of long-term small-business lending, backing 30 percent of the nation's long-term loans. Experts estimate the $79 million will guarantee loans of $12.5 billion. The SBA provides 58 cents for every $100 that banks agree to lend small businesses to help offset the application fee. The 2005 budget and the SBA had proposed zero-funding for the 7(a) loan program. The Manzullo-Velazquez floor amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and State Departments' appropriations bill provided $79 million for the SBA's popular 7(a) loan guarantee program in FY 2005. The measure is expected to pass the Senate easily.