Congresswoman Elaine Luria Advocates for Hampton Roads at House Committee on Small Business Hearing
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Last week, Congresswoman Luria testified before the House Committee on Small Business and emphasized the critical support needed in Coastal Virginia. After speaking with local small businessowners, Congresswoman Luria relayed the firsthand accounts of these stories and outlined the legislative fixes required to ensure small businesses receive the economic relief they need to recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Below is a video of Congresswoman Luria’s testimony.
Below is a full transcript of Congresswoman Luria’s testimony.
Chairwoman Velazquez and Ranking Member Chabot,
Small businesses are the backbone of my district, as the 115,192 people employed by small businesses account for more than half of all employees. In this time of crisis, more work must be done to help all small businesses.
Despite Congressional intent, some businesses cannot benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program. SBA must clarify its affiliation rules as the relate to PPP loans.
For seasonal businesses, I recommend directing SBA to base loan eligibility on revenues from the same time frame last year rather than from the prior four months. I also recommend allowing businesses to defer the start of the eight-week period during which expended loan proceeds can be forgiven until the date the business can reopen.
To continue to ensure access for PPP funds, the Committee should incentivize banks to serve new customers or prohibit banks from restricting which businesses can apply for a PPP loan. The Committee should also prohibit big banks from considering the size of a loan while processing applications, so the smallest customers have an equal shot at funding.
Businesses that can prove lower payroll costs as a share of overall operating costs should be allowed to use more of their loan for non-payroll costs. This change would be especially beneficial for the hospitality and aquaculture industries, which need to pay rent or other maintenance costs for their facilities.
Additionally, the Committee should require SBA to provide applicants with clear and transparent timelines for when loan and grant applications will be processed.
Finally, the Committee must help SBA balance the quick distribution of funds with the program's integrity.
On behalf of small businesses in Coastal Virginia, thank you for this opportunity to share these priorities for upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation, and I will submit my full testimony for the record.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.