Phillips Conducts Oversight of SBA Pandemic Grant Programs

May 27, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations, led by Chairman Dean Phillips (D-MN), held a hearing focused on assessing the implementation and effectiveness of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) pandemic related grant programs. The hearing gathered small business owners and stakeholders to testify on their experience obtaining relief and their recommendations for improving the programs.

“Recognizing the need for alternative relief options, Congress and this Committee have worked to provide direct economic relief to small firms that can’t afford to weigh down their balance sheets with more debt,” said Chairman Phillips. “I hope that by taking a closer look at these programs, we can gain a better understanding of the challenges that federal grant programs face, as well as the important relief that these programs are providing to struggling small businesses across the country.”

Since the COVID crisis began devastating small businesses, Congress has worked to provide small firms that couldn’t afford to take on more debt with direct economic relief through grants. The hearing focused on two SBA grant programs implemented in 2021 to reach the most impacted sectors of the economy, the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) program and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Over the course of the year these programs will deliver nearly $50 billion to struggling small businesses across the country.

Yesterday, Rep. Phillips questioned Isabella Casillas Guzman, the new administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, on the viability and oversight of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Paycheck Protection Program, and other aid programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later that day he announced the introduction of the Bipartisan Restaurant Recovery Fairness Act, co-led by his subcommittee’s Republican counterpart, ranking member Beth Van Duyne (R-TX). The Restaurant Recovery Fairness Act will add a vital oversight component to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. American restaurants have submitted requests for over $69 billion in funding, making this oversight crucial to ensure that only proper recipients receive funds.

 

 

During the hearing, small business owners testified on the impact these initiatives had on their business and changes Congress can make to help grant programs better meet the needs of entrepreneurs, including a small business owner from Minneapolis:

“All of these programs: unemployment insurance, PPP, EIDL, and RRF have been critical. Since the pandemic began, I have not missed a rent payment, loan payment, payroll or any other obligation,” said Chris Montana, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis, Minn. “That means that I have not been a drain on other businesses that are also struggling to survive. My ability to meet my obligations and prepare for future challenges is a direct result of these programs.”

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