Office of Rep. Marilyn Strickland announcement.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) sent a bipartisan letter demanding accountability from the Small Business Administration on how they have been processing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications. She was joined by 70 of her colleagues, including three Republicans.
“For months, I have heard directly from South Sound small business owners about the multitude of issues they’ve encountered in getting their Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications processed,” said Strickland. “The Small Business Administration (SBA) has failed to provide adequate service or communications to these struggling business owners across the nation. Small businesses need answers from the SBA and I’m going to fight for my constituents until we get them.”
“The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program was implemented to provide a lifeline for struggling businesses during the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Hayes who co-led the letter. “Yet, so many were left with disappointing news that funds had been depleted with no warning. Transparency is critical for the businesses still waiting for answers from the Small Business Administration.”
Currently, the Small Business Administration is not accepting new COVID-19 EIDL applicants. Small business owners faced issues with applications being denied without explanation or opportunities to appeal and waited for months with no communication to then be told that funds were depleted. Additionally, those who were approved were not notified that approval was not the final step in the application process, but rather that the funds had to be obligated before the SBA’s deadline, thus losing out on funding.
The full letter text can be found below and here.
Dear Administrator Guzman,
We write to express concerns regarding the lack of transparency around the end of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Congress has appropriated over $1 trillion in critical support for the hardest-hit small businesses, including funds for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. While EIDL has helped more than 3.9 million small businesses across the country, many were shut out from receiving relief in the first round or left in the dark on the status of their applications with the Small Business Administration (SBA). We urge you to work with these small business EIDL applicants to provide immediate relief. They deserve clarity.
Thousands of small businesses are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and some have had to close all together. Not only have many of these businesses lost two years’ worth of revenue, but it will also take them years to financially recover from the debt they have accrued to stay afloat during this time. Since SBA stopped accepting applications for new COVID EIDL loans on January 1, 2022 and stopped accepting both loan increase requests and requests for reconsideration of previously declined loan applications on May 5, 2022, our offices have received numerous phone calls and emails from disappointed small business owners in our districts who were left without recourse or relief.
What we find most concerning is that SBA attributes its latest decision to funds having been depleted but failed to communicate this with our constituents well ahead of time and even provided inconsistent information to those with pending applications throughout the process – despite doing their due diligence to give SBA what was asked of them in a timely manner. Specifically, we have heard from constituents with pending applications who were told by SBA that they would be or had been approved, and that the deadline would not be an issue, or whose inquiries were left unanswered for months and all were subsequently denied after funds had been depleted. These constituents were not notified by the SBA that being approved was not the final step in the application process, rather that the funds had to be obligated before the deadline. We also heard from some constituents who were never given the opportunity to make adjustments to their original application or were outright denied with little to no explanation but told to appeal the decision by May 6, 2022, only to be denied again due to funding issues.
The lack of transparency and accountability in how SBA has chosen to adjudicate and process applications is alarming, as is the repeated pattern of miscommunication our constituents have experienced. We urge you to provide clarity on how SBA processed applications and intends to remedy these shortfalls going forward. We look forward to a response from you on these issues.
This letter was signed by Representatives Marilyn Strickland, Jahana Hayes, Alma Adams, Colin Allred, Jake Auchincloss, Don Bacon, Karen Bass, Sanford Bishop, Suzanne Bonamici, Salud Carbajal, Troy Carter, Ed Case, David Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, J. Correa, Jim Costa, Angie Craig, Charlie Crist, Madeleine Dean, Suzan DelBene, Anna Eshoo, Adriano Espaillat, Brian Fitzpatrick, Jesús García, Sylvia Garcia, Josh Gottheimer, Raúl Grijalva, Jamie Herrera Beutler, Pramila Jayapal, Henry Johnson, Ro Khanna, Daniel Kildee, Derek Kilmer, Ron Kind, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ann Kuster, James Langevin, Al Lawson, Barbara Lee, Susie Lee, Mike Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Elaine Luria, Carolyn Maloney, Doris Matsui, James McGovern, Gregory Meeks, Joe Neguse, Eleanor Norton, Tom O’Halleran, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone, Donald Payne Jr., Stacey Plaskett, Mark Pocan, Katie Porter, Jamie Raskin, Deborah Ross, Linda Sánchez, Adam Schiff, Kim Schrier, David Scott, Elissa Slotkin, Adam Smith, Greg Stanton, Thomas Suozzi, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, David Trone, and Jennifer Wexton.
U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and is the only African-American woman who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress and is the first African-American elected to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level.