Washington, D.C.— Today, Rep. Nydia M Velázquez (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, led a hearing examining the top management and performance challenges facing the Small Business Administration (SBA) according to a report recently published by the SBA Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
“Oversight of SBA programs is important now more than ever as we work to address the challenges with the stimulus lending programs and learn valuable lessons for the future,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “It is vital that we address the systemic challenges at SBA and work together to ensure that internal controls are put in place. Doing so, will make the agency stronger, nimbler, and better able to handle disasters in the future.”
SBA OIG is a nonpartisan government watchdog that provides independent and objective oversight to improve the operation of SBA. Every year, SBA OIG issues a report detailing significant challenges facing the agency in the year ahead.
One of the top concerns detailed in this year's report was the susceptibility of SBA economic relief programs to fraud and abuse. The report noted that in 2020, the Trump administration significantly relaxed internal controls on SBA programs leading to high levels of potential fraud within the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. During the hearing, SBA Inspector General Mike Ware testified on the Biden administration's progress in addressing OIG recommendations and better protecting programs from fraud and abuse.
“Overall, the agency has made progress addressing this year’s list of management challenges. We are even retiring some issues we identified last year within major challenge areas because the agency has made such significant progress that the problem has either been resolved or no longer rises to the level of a systemic challenge,” said SBA Inspector General Mike Ware. “This progress is in large part attributed to the agency’s concerted effort to address outstanding internal control recommendations reflected in many of the component challenge corrective action areas.”
The hearing also allowed members to discuss longstanding issues at SBA, including challenges in small business contracting, IT security, access to capital, and disaster assistance.
“Addressing these problems will require sustained work on a bipartisan basis from this committee,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “I truly hope that today's hearing motivates all of us to work to find bipartisan solutions to bolster the agency.”