Biden's SBA continues to fail small businesses with fraud, delays, and mismanagement
This joint op-ed by House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer originally appeared in Fox Business.
If the past year and a half has shown us anything, it is that Democrats cannot govern effectively or responsibly. Their ill-advised agenda of reckless spending and radical policymaking has left American families and small businesses at a loss.
Americans are focused on the issues impacting them daily, yet this administration has their priorities backwards and its agencies are showing this regularly.
The Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal agency tasked with supporting and advancing the needs and goals of America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs, is no different.
Forced to serve an out-sized role in the nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19, the SBA has been tasked with managing more than a trillion dollars in COVID-19 relief funds for the last two years. Whether it’s the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), the SBA has dropped the ball on effectively managing these.
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Earlier this month, the SBA’s Office of Inspector General released a report highlighting the concerns House Small Business Committee Republicans have been raising for months. Fraud. Mismanagement. Lack of infrastructure to effectively manage and track criminal behavior within COVID-19 relief loans. The "biggest fraud in a generation" remains an unchecked and unmanageable disaster for this administration.
On June 3, 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a letter to SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman highlighting 15 priority recommendations, which would significantly improve government operations, out of 44 open recommendations the SBA has yet to implement.
This latest letter follows a June 2021 letter the GAO sent highlighting over a dozen recommendations to improve the agency, of which only three were implemented. The latest recommendations include 12 outstanding items with an additional three new pressing recommendations.
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President Biden’s SBA has proven itself to be one thing: Ineffective. The SBA has struggled to fulfill its core mission in helping and assisting the nation’s smallest businesses and agency leadership have found themselves in over their heads in effectively managing the COVID-19 relief programs. They simply do not have the bandwidth or expertise to live up to the SBA America needs today.
The SBA has struggled to fulfill its core mission in helping and assisting the nation’s smallest businesses and agency leadership have found themselves in over their heads in effectively managing the COVID-19 relief programs. They simply do not have the bandwidth or expertise to live up to the SBA America needs today.
There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to meet the diverse demands of our unique small business communities. The SBA is the sole federal agency charged with helping and assisting the nation’s smallest businesses. Yet, Biden’s SBA has been fraught with fraud, delays, and mismanagement.
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The agency continues to try and grow the bureaucracy by expanding a federally controlled government lending option. The COVID-19 pandemic’s PPP showed us just how effective private-sector lenders can be at implanting these capital programs. Now is not the time to shut out our community banks for more faceless Washington bureaucracy. This top-down approach can only increase the potential for fraud in these critical programs.
Therefore I, along with my fellow Republican colleagues on the House Small Business Committee, introduced the IMPROVE the SBA Act. This legislation will achieve long-overdue reform of the SBA and will implement pro-growth policies to enhance private sector lending and no longer waste the taxpayer dime.
The IMPROVE the SBA Act aims to increase oversight and transparency of the SBA – which has proven to be immensely necessary over the last two years. With fraud running rampant and mismanagement on all levels, proper oversight, investigation, and transparency is needed to keep the SBA and the Biden administration accountable to the American taxpayer and to Main Street USA.
When entrepreneurship is strong and the environment is rich with prudent risk taking and investment, the next great economy is on the way.
Our innovators are struggling, in part because of President Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s reckless government spending but also because of the backward priorities of President Biden’s SBA.
Higher taxes and an across-the-board regulatory agenda hurt small businesses. The state of America’s small business community is in crisis and the only way to get our country’s economy back on track is to allow our primary job creators to take the reins.
The reforms through the IMPROVE the SBA Act are a step in the right direction. Once we have a SBA that is a true advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs and a government that is responsible and accountable, we will truly recover from the reckless tax and spend agenda of the Democrats.
The next great economy is on the way, but only if ineffective management and irresponsibility step out of the way.
Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer represents Missouri’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee and also serves on the House Financial Services Committee as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions.