Monday, December 5, 2011

Small Business Committee Examines SBA Disaster Assistance Programs

Washington, Nov 30. WASHINGTON, D.C.— House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today held a full committee hearing to examine the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) programs that provide long-term disaster recovery assistance. The hearing focused on the SBA’s implementation of the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvements Act of 2008, designed to improve disaster planning following the abundance of major storms in 2005.
The Committee received testimony from SBA Associate Administrator of the Office of Disaster Assistance James Rivera and the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment William Shear.
“Disasters can happen at any time. And so we must be prepared to respond at a moment’s notice to meet the needs of disaster victims. Major disasters in our recent past have taught us many valuable lessons; one of those is that the SBA must be better equipped to process loan applications instead of burdening victims with endless paperwork, misinformation and delays. 
“It is extremely troubling that six years after the myriad of major storms, such as Katrina, and three years since the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvements Act was made law, the GAO continues to report that statutes have not been fully implemented. While progress has been made, the SBA’s disaster program needs to be a priority with this administration. In the event of a catastrophe, there are thousands of Americans who rely on the SBA for assistance to rebuild their homes and their businesses. We must ensure our i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, so we are able to competently respond at any time.” 
For additional hearing information, click here.
Notable Witness Quotes:
William Shear, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at the GAO in Washington, DC, said, “As of November 2011, SBA met requirements for 16 out of 26 provisions of the Act and partially addressed six… However, to fully address statutory requirements the agency must make extensive changes to current programs or implement new programs.”e