Byrne to SBA: More Help, Clarity Needed for Small Businesses

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (Source: Sam Prickett)

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile, on Thursday led a bi-partisan letter to Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza asking the agency to offer more help and guidance for those seeking Economic Injury Disaster Loans, or EIDLs.

Byrne led the letter with Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper, R-Nashville, and it was co-signed by a group of 54 Republican and 46 Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, was also a co-signer of the letter.

In March, the SBA began allowing states to apply for the EIDL. The loan program helps qualified businesses and non-profit organizations recover from economic losses tied to the abrupt economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 disease and efforts to stop its spread. The program offers up to $2 million in assistance for an eligible small business, and advance grants of up to $10,000 are available.

However, there are reports of “severe oversubscription” to the EIDL program and of the $10,000 advance grant being insufficient to meet the needs of businesses trying to survive in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the lawmakers wrote.

“In sum, we recognize the EIDL system was never designed to process a disaster of this magnitude, and we commend your team for working around the clock to remedy this challenge,” the letter reads. “However, we are concerned that many small businesses cannot wait much longer to receive EIDL funds from the federal government. Many of these businesses and other organizations need EIDL funds to supplement their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, are not good candidates for the PPP due to its requirements or are not eligible for that program at all. For that reason, we hope you will provide a briefing to us as soon as possible to address issues facing the EIDL program and how Congress can help the SBA meet these challenges.”