Brown Urges SBA to Move Quickly on Web Portal Fix for Shuttered Venue Operators Grant



 

After Securing Relief Funds as Part of the American Rescue Package, Senator Joined Bipartisan Group of Colleagues in Urging SBA to Get the Online Application Portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program Back Online

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined a bipartisan group of Senators in calling on the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to move quickly to get the web application portal for

the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program back online, in order to quickly get Ohio small business owners that qualify the relief they need. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and was amended by the American Rescue Plan Act to include over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, which Brown helped secure as part of the package that was signed into law last month. In addition to Brown, the bipartisan letter was led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX).

“As you correctly point out, “this funding is urgently needed now.” With each passing day, more independent businesses are forced to shutter permanently or file for bankruptcy. Landlords and banks are no longer permitting deferrals and are pressing for immediate payment of past due accounts; businesses are receiving eviction notices; mom-and-pop businesses are being forced to sell. The Administration’s announcement is critical to these businesses as they work to meet existing debt obligations during these unprecedented times,” the senators wrote in the letter to SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman.

Brown and his colleagues also urged SBA to continue outreach to potential applicants and finalize guidance that will inform applicants of the precise requirements for eligibility and grant amount, and implement a technical corrections process so reviewers may seek additional information if a submission is rejected due to an obvious technical error.

The full letter can be read here and below.

Dear Administrator Guzman:

Thank you for your work and that of the entire Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) emergency relief program is implemented and funding is distributed to eligible recipients as Congress intended. Immediately launching SVOG will be critical to ensuring the health of this important industry.

The Administration’s recent announcement that it is “aiming to reopen the portal by the end of next week”[1] is encouraging, and we urge the Administration to make every effort to meet this goal. As you correctly point out, “this funding is urgently needed now.”[2] With each passing day, more independent businesses are forced to shutter permanently or file for bankruptcy. Landlords and banks are no longer permitting deferrals and are pressing for immediate payment of past due accounts; businesses are receiving eviction notices; mom-and-pop businesses are being forced to sell. The Administration’s announcement is critical to these businesses as they work to meet existing debt obligations during these unprecedented times.

We also respectfully request you continue outreach to potential applicants and finalize guidance that will inform applicants of the precise requirements for eligibility and grant amount. We continue to urge SBA to implement a technical corrections process so reviewers may seek additional information if a submission is rejected due to an obvious technical error. This is consistent with the review opportunity provided under other federal grant programs and would ensure that eligible applicants are not excluded due to an inadvertent failure to comply with a technical requirement of the application process.

The Save Our Stages Act, now the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, was created to prevent widespread closures of shuttered venues. As supporters of the SVOG program, we look forward to the start of the program this week and stand ready to work with you to ensure proper and timely aid to applicants within each priority period.

Sincerely,

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