Congressional Delegation Wants Swift SBA Disaster Declaration for RI

Mar 16, 2020 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Small Business

WASHINGTON, DC – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today urged the Trump Administration to quickly grant Rhode Island’s request for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue an economic disaster declaration covering the state due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline say the designation will help small business owners successfully apply for low-interest federal loans and unlock other SBA tools and assistance designed to assist small businesses that are suffering a substantial economic injury as a result of the pandemic.

“Many Rhode Island businesses are experiencing substantial losses and business disruption as a result of the national response to the recent outbreak and spread of COVID-19.  All sectors of the economy are feeling the effects of this pandemic and every available incentive to help businesses and the workers they employ through this uncertain time is critical,” the delegation wrote in a letter to the head of the SBA.

The delegation is working in close coordination with Governor Raimondo and her administration to ensure SBA help is available for shops, restaurants, bars, and small businesses across the state.  The Governor submitted a formal request for the SBA economic disaster declaration today.

The SBA has the authority to offer small businesses impacted by coronavirus low-interest loans of up to $2 million.  In fiscal year 2019, the SBA supported $143.5 billion in capital for small businesses nationwide, including $2.2 billion for disaster declarations.

All four members of the delegation supported an $8 billion coronavirus appropriations package earlier this month that includes $1 billion in loan subsidies that will allow the SBA to provide $7 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.  The delegation says that level of funding is just a down payment and Congress will need to provide additional help for small businesses in the days and weeks ahead.