U.S. Sen. Tina Smith Joins Bipartisan Push to Remove SBA Restrictions On Disaster Loans, Grants for Small Businesses Hit Hard by Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/01/20]— U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) has joined a bipartisan push to get the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to remove unneeded restrictions it has placed on emergency loans and grants for small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Sen. Smith, as part of a bipartisan group of 21 Senators, wrote to SBA Director Jovita Carranza this week, saying the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) was designed to support the efforts of the nation’s small businesses trying to maintain their payroll, retain employees and cover operating expenses during the pandemic.  However, the SBA has imposed a per-employee cap on EIDL advance grants, and dramatically reduced the maximum loan amount from $2 million to $15,000, leaving many business owners without sufficient support, the Senators said.  

We have each heard from frustrated constituents unable to keep their businesses open or employees on payroll while waiting on cash advances under the EIDL Program,” the Senators wrote to Carranza.  “Additionally, most would have looked to other loan programs if they had known the cap was lowered.” 

The Senators said Congress in late April replenished funds for EIDL, and for the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses, so that there is now no longer any reason to limit SBA’s help for small businesses who need it.  Sen. Smith and her colleagues originally created the EIDL grant program in March as part of a historic, bipartisan legislative package providing key health care and economic support for workers, families, and small businesses. 

You can read the letter here.

Besides Senator Smith, also signing the bipartisan letter were Senators John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Deb Fisher (R-Neb.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ariz.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).