WASHINGTON – Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America's 33 million small businesses in President Biden's cabinet, issued the following statement on today's signing of the Paycheck Protection Program and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act and the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fraud Statute of Limitations Act.
"America's 33 million small businesses are giants in our economy and vital for communities across America. Thanks to the President's leadership, America's small business economy is open and growing. In this Administration's first year alone, 5.4 million Americans applied to start new businesses, 20 percent more than any other year on record. And their success is powering our nation's economic recovery, supporting strong job creation and historic unemployment.
"Millions of small business owners will tell you that PPP, COVID EIDL, and other critical relief programs at the SBA were vital to their ability to reopen, rebuild and grow. President Biden was committed to getting funds into the hands of the businesses that it intended to serve. The SBA course-corrected on critical relief programs plagued with challenges and scaled our systems to manage risk, reduce fraud and abuse, and ensure good stewardship of taxpayer resources across our programs.
"We reinstated basic controls stripped under the previous Administration and leveraged technology to raise the bar on security while always putting customer experience with speed and certainty first. As a result, the SBA has been able to crack down on abuses and clear application backlogs while ensuring legitimate businesses and the smallest of small businesses still had a clear path to access the emergency financial lifelines.
"Despite our great progress, we know some of the loans approved under the previous Administration were not legitimate. I have personally worked closely with Inspector General Hannibal Ware and our dedicated teams to ensure transparency and track down the people who abused these relief programs so they can be held accountable. This legislation extends the runway for those investigations and the prosecutions they support.
"I want to thank the bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate, including House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez and Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer, for getting this legislation passed, and I am so pleased to stand with President Biden as he signs it into law."
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.