Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Senator-elect Mark Kelly is shown here when he spoke at the Blue Door Sanctuary in Clifton during an engagement in 2019.
Letter signed by 48 senators comes amid complaints from small business owners that their applications have not been considered
WASHINGTON D.C. – On Friday, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, along with 47 other senators, urged U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman to process COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications that were received prior to the agency’s May 6, 2022 deadline.
The COVID EIDL program has provided loans to nearly four million small businesses since the beginning of the pandemic—serving as an essential source of capital for small businesses, especially those that could not obtain credit to survive the pandemic from other lenders.
“While we recognize the agency has assisted an unprecedented number of small businesses throughout the pandemic, our offices continue to hear from thousands of prospective borrowers awaiting consideration,” the senators wrote. “We also continue to hear from EIDL applicants with disputed rejections who have received no communication from the administration in months. EIDL was a lifeline for businesses throughout this pandemic, but many of them continue to struggle. The program is too important to shut down prematurely. While funds remain, we expect SBA to process all eligible applications and appeals that have been submitted by the request deadline.”
On Thursday, April 28, the SBA announced a May 6, 2022 submission deadline for COVID EIDL loan modifications, increase requests, and denial reconsiderations. Many applicants who submitted their applications prior to the deadline remain in limbo due to the SBA’s decision to stop processing certain applications. Instead, the SBA has issued a vague commitment to process “workable” applications, which has led to many deserving borrowers not receiving the funds they need.
The senators continued, “Given that many applicants have not received final consideration, we find it difficult to understand SBA’s decision to stop processing requests that were submitted by the May 6th submission deadline…‘Workability’ is not an acceptable standard to justify rejecting a borrower who is eligible and in need. The bar for denial is eligibility, not SBA’s willingness to continue processing applications. We find it particularly troubling that your agency continues to tell our offices that loans cannot be completed due to the exhaustion of funds when $800 million in loan subsidy remains – enough to support more than $7 billion in lending.”
In the Senate, Kelly has worked to ensure small businesses get the support they need to thrive. Last year, Kelly championed the Community Navigator Program at the SBA, a grant program enacted through the American Rescue Plan that strengthens outreach to small businesses in underserved communities. Since taking office, Kelly’s constituent services team has helped return more than $17 million to Arizona taxpayers, including helping Arizona small businesses access EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Click here to download a PDF of the letter.