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SBA Takes Action to Assist Farmers Following Continued Pressure from Rep. Courtney

May 4, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) released the following statement today after the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that they have finally provided farmers and agricultural businesses with access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and grant program. Rep. Courtney is the Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Caucus, and has pressed U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to act swiftly on the new EIDL funding authorized by Congress. In an April 27th letter, Courtney urged both Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza to not only work quickly to provide farmers with a portal to apply for and access funding, but also to expediting their assistance.

Today, the SBA announced that they will begin accepting new EIDL and grant applications on a limited basis specifically to provide relief to American farmers and agriculture businesses. The SBA also announced that they would resume processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15th, and that they will be processing these applications on a first-come, first-served basis. For the SBA’s full announcement, and for more information on how to apply for the EIDL program, click here.

“Farmers were left out of the first round of EIDL funding, and they deserve immediate access now that the SBA has followed through on our request,” said Congressman Courtney. “Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has been a solid partner in working to craft these bipartisan COVID-19 relief bills, but resources for farmers have been slow-coming from Treasury and from the SBA. Their announcement today will begin to remedy the situation – farmers finally have a portal through which to apply for and access the EIDL funding that Congress intended to provide them, and the SBA will be focusing on new EIDL applications to assist farmers, specifically. As Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Dairy Caucus, I’ll keep working across the aisle to make sure our farmers get even more support. We’ve got to do more to help keep them steady and solvent, and they’ve waited long enough already.”

On April 23rd, Rep. Courtney voted to pass H.R. 266, which not only provided $60 billion in new funding to the SBA’s EIDL and grant program, but also included language that explicitly expanded EIDL eligibility to farmers. Rep. Courtney had urged the SBA to expand eligibility to farmers only weeks before, and H.R. 266 passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support by a margin of 355-8-1 before being signed into law on April 24th

Following passage of H.R. 266, Courtney wrote again to the SBA and to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on April 27th to urge them to act swiftly so that farmers could access EIDL funding immediately, and to work to ensure that assistance for farmers was expedited through the queue of businesses awaiting support. Click here to read the full letter.

On May 1st, Rep. Courtney joined a bipartisan coalition in writing to SBA Administrator Carranza urging her to take swift action to ensure that small farmers and other agricultural enterprises could access economic injury loans and emergency grants. Click here to read the full letter.

On April 25th, Courtney helped secure new guidance from the SBA that clarified that farmers and agricultural workers are, in fact, eligible for assistance through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The recently passed H.R. 266 also resupplied the PPP with $310 billion, making the new guidance especially timely. To read Rep. Courtney’s full statement on the new PPP guidance, click here.