Disaster Loan Fairness Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Bill Owens
Date: Sept. 19, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OWENS. Mr. Speaker, I was a cosponsor of the original version of this bipartisan bill and rise to support the modified legislation we are considering today. I want to thank Mr. Barletta for his work on this important legislation in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

These two disasters caused millions in damage in northern New York. One year later, small businesses and homeowners are still recovering.

As I walked around my district immediately after, I saw people shoveling out mud, throwing out heirlooms, and struggling to understand what had happened to them. Many of the businesses were ruined, along with homes.

But I also saw something else. I saw people helping people. What we're doing here today is having the government help people. We're following the example of our constituents.

Currently, the Small Business Administration offers disaster recovery loans to small businesses and homeowners for as low as 4 percent and up to 8 percent if credit is available elsewhere. To date, nearly 100 small businesses and homeowners in my congressional district have been approved for more than $5.8 million in disaster loans. But I have heard from many constituents that the interest rates are simply too high to take advantage of these loans.

This bipartisan bill would lower the interest rate on disaster loans.