Newhouse supports businesses in central Washington, urges SBA to release emergency relief funds

WASHINGTON DC – Today Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) joined more than 200 of his colleagues in the House to send a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabel Guzman requesting a explanation of the delay of several months in the distribution of the Shuttered Venue Operators grant. Emergency Relief Program (SVOG) funds that were allocated by Congress in December 2020.

Lawmakers wroteAccording to the Office of Disaster Assistance, as of June 9, the SBA had approved only 90 grants out of the more than 14,000 applications submitted, and nearly two-thirds of applications had not yet reached the examination stage. “

they continued, “Slowness is becoming more and more untenable for the small businesses in our neighborhoods. Their banks have threatened to call the full amount of small business loans, they don’t have the funds to pay the full rent to their landlords, and they can’t retain staff. We’re hearing from site operators who are days away from going out of business if those funds don’t get out soon. These small businesses not only provide good jobs and contribute economically to our local communities, they also contribute to the local spirit and culture. We must act now.

Read the full letter here and below.

Dear Director Guzman,

We are writing today to urge the Small Business Administration to expedite the release of funds to Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) recipients and to provide answers to the questions below in a timely manner.

For more than a year, site operators have been constantly telling us about the unprecedented and unsustainable economic impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their small businesses. This community was relieved when the SVOG program was created as part of the Law on Economic Aid for Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Hard-Affected Sites in December 2020 and additional funding was added in the part of the American rescue plan.

However, the deployment of this program and the release of funds are of great concern to us and many of our constituents. In addition to the initial crash of the application portal on April 8 and the delay in opening to April 28, there was a significant delay in processing applications and allocating funds. According to the Office of Disaster Assistance, as of June 9, the SBA had approved only 90 grants out of the more than 14,000 applications submitted, and nearly two-thirds of the applications had not yet reached the review stage.

The slow pace is becoming more and more untenable for the small businesses in our neighborhoods. Their banks have threatened to call the full amount of small business loans, they don’t have the funds to pay full rent to their landlords, and they can’t keep their staff. We’re hearing from site operators who are days away from going out of business if those funds don’t get out soon. These small businesses not only provide good jobs and contribute economically to our local communities, they also contribute to the local spirit and culture. We must act now.

We understand the complexity and difficulty of managing a program of this size; however, we ask that the disbursement of funds be accelerated immediately.

In addition, we respectfully request that the answers to the following questions be made available to all members and staff:

  1. What causes the delay in processing requests and disbursing funds? Is further congressional action needed to help you resolve these issues?
  2. Since the deadline for Priority 1 has passed, will funding be granted retroactively to those who have not received Priority 1 funding?
  3. When can businesses expect to receive these funds? What plans are in place to communicate a likely funding disbursement schedule to give small theater operators the ability to plan and appropriately meet their individual needs?
  4. Would you and SBA staff organize an information session for members and staff on this program and the issues related to its implementation?

Thank you to you and your staff for your hard work in implementing the various SBA programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you are committed to serving our small businesses and we look forward to working together to ensure that these funds are distributed and that these issues are addressed effectively.

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