House passes Hurricane Sandy assistance bill

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The House passed legislation on Monday to allow individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy to apply for disaster loans.

The bill, approved easily on a voice vote, would resume the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) application process for people who weren’t able to file when the storm hit in October 2012 because of agency backlogs. Such loans would have to be available for at least one year.

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“It is important that those impacted have another chance at securing assistance,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee and author of the legislation.

The Government Accountability Office reported that the SBA received far more disaster loan applications than expected after Hurricane Sandy, resulting in delayed processing.

“H.R. 208 rights the wrongs imposed by the SBA on those who suffer from the effects of Sandy,” House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said. 

The loans would be usable for repairing property damaged by the storm, as well as reimbursing businesses that have, as stipulated by the legislation, “suffered substantial economic injury.”

Eligible applicants would also be permitted to spend the money from the SBA disaster loans on constructing storm shelters for use in future natural disasters.

 

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