Committee chair urges Trump to resume small-business loans
The chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business is calling on President Donald Trump to restart small-business lending as the government shutdown continues.
On Dec. 11, the Small Business Administration halted its popular loan programs that are heavily used by small and midsize businesses, a major setback to entrepreneurs trying to start or expand their companies and one rippling through the economy. The only loans still flowing are to places hit by severe natural disasters.
“The level of anxiety is unprecedented,” said Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business. She urged Trump to “definitely reopen” SBA loan programs and said “the agency has to take proactive measures.” Velazquez wants a swift end to the partial government shutdown, which has caused hundreds of thousands of federal employees to miss a paycheck and thousands of contractors to not get paid on time. But if the shutdown drags on, she would like the Trump administration to find a way to get small-business loans processed again, much like Internal Revenue Service tax refunds.
“It is important that small businesses who apply for loan guarantees that they are able to get their money. This is going to have a direct impact on the operation of their businesses,” she said.
The congresswoman sent a letter Friday to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon asking 18 detailed questions about how businesses can access capital during the shutdown and what McMahon’s plans are for restarting and dealing with the backlog of loan applications.
A call to the SBA for comment was met with a recording that said, “The U.S. Small Business Administration is shut down.”
The SBA typically handles almost 200 loans for working capital via the 7(a) loan program and about 120 loans a day for commercial properties through the 504 loan program. In total, these two programs are dispensing nearly $200 million worth of loans a day to small and midsize U.S. businesses.
Velazquez said her district office in New York City and her committee office in Washington have received an extraordinary number of calls from business owners who can’t get funding and fear they will not be able to close deals for new equipment and property or make payroll.