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January 9, 2015

Velázquez Kicks Off New Congress with Small Business Bills

Measures Would Reopen Disaster Assistance, Streamline Entrepreneurial Development

Washington, DC – With the start of the 114th Congress, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has authored two new pieces of legislation aimed at helping New York’s small businesses thrive and grow.  The measures, introduced on Tuesday, the first day of the new Congress, would give companies impacted by Sandy another chance to apply for assistance and improve local entrepreneurial development initiatives.

“With more than 190,000 small employers in New York City, entrepreneurship remains a driving force in our local economy,” Velázquez noted.  “It is incumbent on Washington to ensure New Yorkers who are willing to invest their personal savings in a new venture have the support and tools they need to succeed.”

With many New York businesses still struggling from the effects of hurricane Sandy, Velázquez has prepared legislation that would reopen the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster loan program.  In October, Velázquez released a Government Accountability Office report finding numerous problems with how the agency administered disaster loan assistance in the weeks after Sandy struck.  According to the report, the SBA failed to meet its own goals for processing loan applications in a timely manner.   Given the hurdles businesses faced in securing emergency financing, Velázquez’s bill, H.R. 208, the “Superstorm Sandy Relief Act,” would restart the SBA’s disaster loan program helping hurricane-impacted firms access assistance. 

“It is clear the SBA was caught flat-footed by Hurricane Sandy,” Velázquez noted. “Reopening the loan approval process will give entrepreneurs still reeling from Sandy another chance to access emergency capital, keeping their doors open, employees on their payrolls and helping them perform needed repairs.”

Velázquez’s second bill, H.R. 207, the “Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act”,
takes steps to strengthen entrepreneurial development services offered by the SBA.   By streamlining the agency’s Small Business Development Center initiatives, the measure would ensure more resources are available for Americans looking to start a new business and for existing firms looking to expand.  18 regional and local SBDC offices serve New York City. 

“From securing financing to designing a business plan, Small Business Development Centers provide critical guidance and assistance to growing small firms and prospective business owners,” Velázquez said.  “With many New Yorkers turning to entrepreneurship as a new source of income, we need these initiatives performing at the highest level possible.” 

As the top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, the Congresswoman has a long track record of promoting policies that help small firms achieve success.  Last Congress she authored legislation to help women-owned small firms secure their share of federal contracts.  She has also been an outspoken advocate for enhancing the availability of capital for small companies.  Velázquez’s two measures have been referred to the Small Business Committee for consideration.

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