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Amata takes part in committee leaders’ letter to SBA calling for EIDL improvements

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Sources: Media release from Cong. Aumua Amata's office

Washington, D.C. — Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata has taken part in an oversight letter this week from the leadership of the House Committee on Small Business to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza on ways to continue improving the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and advance program. The letter was signed by both Democrats and Republicans, including Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez of New York and Ranking Member Steve Chabot of Ohio. Amata is Vice Ranking Member. The Committee is seeking broader EIDL access for small businesses, quicker turnaround times so funds are promptly available for businesses in need, and better reporting on the program.

Amata notes that American Samoa businesses have just completed their most successful week so far regarding EIDL applications, with 15 approvals of $1.1 million in a week. That brings the several week total to 37 approvals and over $2.85 million, as of Monday’s latest report. (EIDL is separate from the Paycheck Protection Program.)

In discussions with small businesses, Committee Members have identified several concerns and questions for the SBA, which they bring forward in the constructive letter, while also complimenting the SBA for success in rapidly standing up such major nationwide programs.

Items raised in the letter include the following:
¥    •    Small businesses inability to adequately monitor the status of their applications awaiting approval;
¥    •    Reductions in the maximum amounts available to a business;
¥    •    Continued lack of access for non-agricultural small businesses, which was supposed to be temporary;
¥    •    The time it takes to get finances directly into the hands of small businesses in need;
¥    •    The need for local data so Congress can better evaluate the program and fund it.

“Thank you for your commitment to small businesses during these unprecedented times. We understand the magnitude of responsibility that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been tasked with and appreciate the efforts you have taken to launch the new economic relief programs in such a short period of time,” states the letter from Members of Congress. “With that said, we are writing to express our deep concerns with the implementation of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and emergency grant program. As you know, the goal of the EIDL program is to provide low-interest disaster loans to help small businesses recover from disasters. To help those suffering substantial economic injury due to the spread of COVID-19, Congress authorized SBA to offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business, with the option to obtain a $10,000 advance that would be disbursed within three days. These funds are especially important to small businesses with small staffs since they can have greater non-payroll expenses. Over the course of the past two months, we have heard from numerous small businesses about the administrative problems they have been encountering with the EIDL program.”

Click on attachment to read full text of letter