Small Business Committee Approves RECOVER Act

Posted March 15, 2007 at 1:36pm

Measures affecting the Small Business Administration’s role in disaster relief programs, access to capital and contracting will head to the House floor after clearing the Small Business Committee Thursday.

Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) said the Relief for Entrepreneurs: Coordination of Objective sand Values for Effective Recovery Act (H.R. 1361) would improve the SBA’s ability to provide “timely and effective assistance” to small businesses affected by natural disasters.

The RECOVER Act also will create grant programs of up to $100,000 to businesses that were affected during the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005. Velázquez said the measure encourages small businesses to operate and rebuild in areas affected by the natural disasters.

The committee voted on the bill along party lines, 17-9, after rejecting three amendments from ranking member Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).

Chabot said that while the bill is “well-intentioned,” it would allow the agency to give grants to businesses that might not be able to make repayments. He said Congress should first allocate federal money that has not yet bee distributed to Hurricane Katrina victims before launching into another grant program. The committee voted along party lines 17-10 against Chabot’s amendment.

Chabot also sought to strike a provision in the bill that he said would allow grant applicants to “double dip” into several loan and grant programs. But Velázquez argued that the grant program opposed by Chabot merely gives administrators a choice on whether grants should be given out. The committee voted by along party lines and Chabot’s amendment was rejected by 14-7.

Chabot’s third amendment, which questioned a provision in the bill requiring the SBA to make monthly reports to Congress, was also rejected with a voice vote. Velázquez said administrators and disaster relief agencies are already creating daily reports.

By a voice vote, the committee also passed amendments that allow economic injury disaster loans for small businesses affected by ice storms, blizzards and lack of snowfall.

After the roll call vote for the RECOVER Act, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) said he would have supported the bill had the committee voted against adding “lack of snowfall.” He said that the addition was “too broad.”

With bipartisan support, H.R. 1332 passed in the committee by a voice vote. The measure would reduce lending fees and increase access to capital programs for small businesses. The bill would also allow veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan access to loans for small businesses and provide incentives for medical professionals to locate in low-income areas.

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) offered and immediately withdrew an amendment that would allow small businesses that are affiliated with a franchise to be still eligible for loans if that affiliate has no legal recourse to pay debt obligations. Fallin said she is hoping the committee can address the issue of franchise-affiliated small businesses before the bill goes to the floor.

Also passed by voice vote was H.R. 1468, which allow businesses impacted by Hurricane Katrina to have 18 more months to participate in federal contracts.

Recorded Votes

Chabot amendment to strike provision that gives grants to small business affected by Gulf Coast Hurricanes

Tally: 17 N, 10 Y, 6 not voting

Democrats

N Velázquez

N Millender-McDonald

N Jefferson

N Shuler

N Gonzales

N Larsen

N Grijalva

N Michaud

N Cuellar

N Lipinski

N Moore

N Altmire

N Braley

N Clarke

N Ellsworth

N Johnson

N Sestak

Republicans

Y Chabot

Y Bartlett

Y Graves

Y Akin

Y Musgrave

Y Fortenberry

Y Davis

Y Fallin

Y Buchanan

Y Jordan

Chabot amendment to strike waiver of prohibition on duplication of certain

benefits

Tally: 14 N, 7 Y, 12 not voting

N Velázquez

N Millender-McDonald

N Jefferson

N Shuler

N Gonzales

N Larsen

N Grijalva

N Michaud

N Bean

N Cuellar

N Moore

N Braley

N Clarke

N Ellsworth

Republicans

Y Chabot

Y Bartlett

Y Akin

Y Musgrave

Y Fortenberry

Y Heller

Y Davis

Michaud Amendment on adding “lack of snowfall” for economic injury disaster

loans

Tally: 14 Yes, 11 No, 8 not voting

Y Velázquez

Y Millender-McDonald

Y Jefferson

Y Shuler

Y Gonzales

Y Larsen

Y Michaud

Y Bean

Y Cuellar

Y Lipinski

Y Moore

Y Braley

Y Clarke

Y Ellsworth

Y Johnson

N Sestak

Republicans

N Chabot

N Bartlett

N Akin

N Musgrave

N Fortenberry

N Heller

N Davis

N Buchanan

N Jordan

Roll Call vote for H.R. 1361

Tally: 17 Yes, 9 No, 7 not voting

Democrats

Y Velázquez

Y Millender-McDonald

Y Jefferson

Y Shuler

Y Gonzales

Y Larsen

Y Michaud

Y Bean

Y Cuellar

Y Lipinski

Y Moore

Y Altmire

Y Braley

Y Clarke

Y Ellsworth

Y Johnson

N Sestak

Republicans

N Chabot

N Bartlett

N Graves

N Akin

N Musgrave

N Fortenberry

N Heller

N Davis

N Jordan