A bill that would help businesses and property owners rebuild after natural disasters is expected to reach the House floor next month, Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, said Friday morning.
Barletta introduced HR6296, the Disaster Loan Fairness Act of 2012 on Thursday, a modified version of a measure he introduced last year.
Speaking at a Five Mountain Hardware, a business that was ravaged by last year's flooding, Barletta delivered the good news: His bill has bipartisan support and will likely be voted on around the time of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
"I expect this bill to go to the floor for a vote next month and I am very, very optimistic that it will pass," Barletta said. "Never again when disaster strikes will we take the approach that businesses have to help themselves recover or go out of business."
The bill's three cosponsors -- all Democrats -- are proof that the measure should appeal to both parties, Barletta said.
HR6296 lowers the interest rate that the Small Business Administration offers to businesses and homeowners recovering from natural disasters. The measure allows for SBA loans at a discounted market-based interest rate for property owners who were hit by flooding or other natural disasters in regions where the president has declared a major disaster.
Barletta unveiled the bill and announced the likely vote at the Union Street hardware store owned by Wayne and Sue Wolfe. The Wolfes reopened the store in January.
He underscored the importance of the Wolfes' hard work and persistence.
"This is a great American story," Barletta said. "The story is that after all of the devastation Wayne and Sue and others liked them decided to continue. If they did not, the people here in Shickshinny forced to drive a distance to buy what they need."
Original cosponsors of HR6296 are U.S. Reps. Tim Holden, PA-17; Janice Hahn, CA-36, and Judy Chu, CA-32, all Democrats.