FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 16, 2022
Contact: Press_Paul@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship, successfully advocated for expanded access to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster assistance programs for small businesses and homeowners in rural communities during times of a natural disaster.
Dr. Paul took action after hearing concerns from Kentuckians in rural areas (such as Spencer County) that were unable to apply for federal disaster assistance because the county was designated to only receive Public Assistance, which does not authorize FEMA or SBA assistance for damaged properties. Further, if a governor wants to directly request assistance from SBA, rural areas often cannot meet SBA’s arbitrary threshold that states 25 homes or businesses must have sustained damage. Current bureaucratic red tape prevents many small businesses and homeowners in rural communities from accessing SBA assistance following a natural disaster.
To address this problem, Dr. Paul worked with Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) to strengthen Sen. Risch’s legislation and ensure that a governor can request SBA assistance for homeowners and small businesses if there is significant damage to at least one business or home in a rural area. This would allow rural communities to more readily access and secure SBA disaster assistance in the case a presidentially declared disaster does not unlock all available resources in an area.
“Since December’s tornado outbreak, which upended the lives of so many Kentuckians, first responders and disaster relief personnel from FEMA and the SBA have been on the ground working to connect those in need with resources that are available, and I am so grateful for their efforts. But in my discussions and on-the-ground meetings with those affected by the disaster, I found that arbitrary bureaucratic rules have left some Kentuckians in rural areas deprived of access to FEMA or SBA assistance, just because the violent storms happened to hit a less densely populated area,” said Dr. Paul. “The bill offered by Senator Risch, which now includes my changes, will spur real reform to address the unique challenges rural areas face in the wake of disasters.”
You can find Dr. Paul’s remarks from the Senate Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship’s meeting HERE.
You can read about the original legislation HERE.