November 18, 2021
Houlahan Press Small Business Administration on Natural Disaster Relief
WASHINGTON – This week, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) interrogates Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman on efforts to help small businesses affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Ida. After historic floods and winds devastated small businesses in Chester and parts of Berks counties, Houlahan heard from small business owners who were forced to shut down permanently and dozens more on the way. to do the same.
“As an entrepreneur, I know that it is difficult for small businesses to make payroll under normal circumstances”, said Houlahan. âBut after a pandemic, global supply chain problems, then a hurricane? It’s an incredibly difficult time. Small business owners are exhausted – and I don’t blame them.â
“We are not doing enough to help our main streets recover from natural disasters,” Houlahan continued. âSo I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Administrator Guzman for her efforts so far, but also to urge her to consider PPP type loans with grant opportunities for weather-affected businesses, such as us. “We did during the pandemic. Future storms are inevitable – we can all agree on that. The question is whether or not we can expand this program before the next storm.
According to a 2019 reportThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. In addition, Administrator Guzman admitted during the hearing that businesses closed for at least five days have a 90% chance of going bankrupt within a year.
At Tuesday’s House Small Business Committee hearing, Houlahan demand Administrator Guzman though she thought the status quo was enough to support small businesses and if the SBA should do more to support small businesses after natural disasters beyond low-interest loans.
“Yes, we agree that the recovery is a long story for communities and for businesses”, Guzman said. “And I would like to see the SBA get more involved in this recovery and provide support.”
Full details of the hearing including testimony from Administrator Guzman and the full video recording can be found here.
Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, engineer, serial entrepreneur, educator, and nonprofit leader. It represents the 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She sits on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee. She is the recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award from the United States Chamber of Commerce, which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governance necessary to move our country forward.”