Com­mit­tee chair urges Trump to re­sume small-busi­ness loans

San Antonio Express-News - - BUSINESS - By Heather Long

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.


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