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Velázquez’s Sandy bill heads back to House after Senate passage

October 27, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez says she heard from numerous small business owners frustrated by governmental bureaucracy when they tried to rebuild post-Sandy. Photo courtesy of Velázquez’s office
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A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez to cut red tape for owners of small businesses seeking government assistance to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy is headed back to the House after it was approved by the Senate.

The House passed Velázquez’s bill, the Superstorm Sandy Relief and Disaster Loan Program Improvement Act, earlier this year and sent it to the Senate. Last week, the Senate passed the legislation but made changes to the bill, a move that necessitated bringing it back to the House for another vote before it could be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Velázquez’s bill would allow small businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy to re-apply for assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Velázquez (D-Brooklyn-Manhattan) said she sponsored the bill in an effort to cut the red tape many business owners have faced as they struggled to rebuild post-Sandy.

“After Hurricane Sandy, we heard from countless businesses who simply gave up on the emergency loan process because of the amount of red tape in the application process,” Velázquez said. “This bill would give these firms another chance to be made whole by reopening the application process.”

The Senate inserted a number of reforms into the original bill, which Velázquez said will strengthen the program and help small businesses impacted by natural disasters. Following Superstorm Sandy, Velázquez, who is a member of the House Small Business Committee, produced a number of studies documenting problems in the SBA’s disaster loan assistance program. Based on that work, she sponsored the Superstorm Sandy Relief and Disaster Loan Program Improvement Act.

“Helping our small businesses after natural disasters should not be a partisan issue,” Velázquez said. “I am pleased to see the Senate move in a bipartisan fashion and I look forward to seeing this measure swiftly approved in the House and sent to the President for his signature.”

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