WASHINGTON –Today, the House Committee on Small Business heard from small business owners and experts on their experiences with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
Here are the prepared remarks of Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH):
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman and thank you for holding this important hearing on the SBA’s EIDL program.
Before I begin, I want to comment on the fact that we are having this hearing in a virtual format. Despite being on Capitol Hill and in the same building as the Committee Hearing room right now, and despite a tremendous amount of important work that needs to be accomplished on behalf of the American people, we have to conduct this hearing remotely while the House in not in session. With states and municipalities opening back up, it is alarming that the U.S. House of Representatives remains on the sidelines. Moreover, the House is currently scheduled to be in session limited days this entire month. With so much important work to be done, this is extremely concerning.
Turning my attention back to the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, it is important that we are having this conversation. The EIDL program, which operates within the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program was up and running as COVID-19 swept across the globe. It is important to note that the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program has had its trouble in the past, but it was consistently making improvements. Created to be a regional program that provided assistance to small businesses after a disaster, COVID-19 has presented numerous challenges to the program. This economic downturn caused by this crisis has completely overwhelmed the program.
As the crisis unfolded, the lines of communication from the SBA to businesses about the EIDL has deteriorated. Additionally, the total loan amount and the grant amount available within the program continued to be uncertain. These hurdles and roadblocks impacted a small business’ ability to make important and critical decisions during these uncertain times.
Thus far, the program has provided assistance to over one million small businesses across the country for approximately $80 billion dollars. In my state of Ohio, it has provided 25,378 loans for a total of $1.7 billion dollars.
Today, communication is slowly improving, but more work needs to be done. It is critically important that we have this discussion to understand how small businesses have fared during the crisis, and how Congress should work to make improvements.
Throughout this entire crisis, I’ve joined dozens of my House colleagues on conference calls with their small businesses in their districts. Questions on the EIDL program were raised on the majority of these calls.
Congress has worked in a bipartisan manner to address the Paycheck Protection Program. We must now work together to ensure the EIDL program is operating efficiently and effectively for small businesses during this crisis.
I look forward to discussing solutions and next steps with all of the witnesses today. We must move forward with practical reforms that deliver for Main Street America.
With that Madam Chairwoman, I yield back.