Wyden, Merkley Urge SBA to Process All Eligible COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Applications

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today they are urging the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to process COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications that were received prior to the agency’s May 6, 2022 deadline.

“While we recognize the agency has assisted an unprecedented number of small businesses throughout the pandemic, our offices continue to hear from thousands of prospective borrowers awaiting consideration,” Wyden and Merkley wrote in a bipartisan letter with other senators to SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We also continue to hear from EIDL applicants with disputed rejections who have received no communication from the administration in months. EIDL was a lifeline for businesses throughout this pandemic, but many of them continue to struggle. The program is too important to shut down prematurely. While funds remain, we expect SBA to process all eligible applications and appeals that have been submitted by the request deadline.”

The COVID EIDL program has provided loans to nearly four million small businesses since the beginning of the pandemic—serving as an essential source of capital for small businesses, especially those that could not obtain credit to survive the pandemic from other lenders.

On April 28, the SBA announced a May 6, 2022 submission deadline for COVID EIDL loan modifications, increase requests, and denial reconsiderations. Many applicants who submitted their applications prior to the deadline remain in limbo due to the SBA’s decision to stop processing certain applications. Instead, the SBA has issued a vague commitment to process “workable” applications, which has led to many deserving borrowers not receiving the funds they need.

“Given that many applicants have not received final consideration, we find it difficult to understand SBA’s decision to stop processing requests that were submitted by the May 6th submission deadline… ‘Workability’ is not an acceptable standard to justify rejecting a borrower who is eligible and in need. The bar for denial is eligibility, not SBA’s willingness to continue processing applications. We find it particularly troubling that your agency continues to tell our offices that loans cannot be completed due to the exhaustion of funds when $800 million in loan subsidy remains – enough to support more than $7 billion in lending,” the letter concluded.

The letter was led by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, D-Md., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Alongside Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Margaret Wood Hassan, D-N.H., John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chuck Schumer, D- N.Y., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Pa., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Ed Markey, D- Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tom Carper, D-Del., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Mark Warner, D-Va., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The text of the letter is here.

A web version of this release is here.