Last week, Congressman Bill Owens spoke on the House floor in support of legislation, the "Disaster Loan Fairness Act" (H.R. 6296), which would lower interest rates for small businesses and homeowners hit by disasters like Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
"Nearly 100 small businesses and homeowners in my Congressional District have been approved for more than $5.8 million in disaster loans, but many constituents have told me that the interest rates are too high to be taken advantage of," Owens said. "This bipartisan bill will help lower rates for disaster relief loans and better protect communities like ours when disaster strikes."
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides disaster-related loans to businesses and nonprofits. Under current law, if a business suffers damages or economic losses as a result of a disaster, the business owner is eligible to apply for low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged property and meet financial obligations they would have otherwise met had the business not been subjected to a natural disaster.
Under the Disaster Loan Fairness Act, the SBA would be required to issue the loans below prevailing rates for similar loans in the marketplace, with a cap of 4% interest. The new rates would apply retroactively to loans made on Jan. 1, 2011, and requires the SBA to refund excess interest already paid.
Congressman Owens is a co-sponsor of similar legislation, H.R. 3042, which was included in the final Disaster Loan Fairness Act. The Congressman spoke on the House floor September 19th to discuss the bill and recall the events of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Video of Owens' speech can be found at the link below: