Luetkemeyer, Williams demand answers from the SBA on behalf of America's struggling venues
Washington, June 10, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) and Vice Ranking Member Roger Williams (TX-25) released the following statements on the SBA's disastrous Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) rollout. As of yesterday, only 90 grants had been awarded by the SBA out of over 14,000 applications submitted. The Committee has gone months without answers from the SBA on the SVOG program, and each day that goes by without assistance puts the economic future of countless businesses in question.
"The SBA is failing struggling venues across the country while refusing to explain why only 90 grants have been awarded to America's hardest hit venues out of over 14,000 applications," said Ranking Member Luetkemeyer. "As early as February, Chairwoman Velázquez, Vice Ranking Member Williams, and I wrote a letter to the SBA urging for funding to be sent to grant applicants. We have yet to receive a response. Silence is not the answer. The SBA's lack of transparency surrounding the SVOG program is inexcusable, and we are demanding immediate action and answers from Administrator Guzman."
“165 days have passed since the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) became law and thousands of entertainment venues have still not seen a single dollar from the SBA,” said Vice Ranking Member Williams. “As of today, only 90 grants have been awarded out of 14,020 applicants, with only four in Texas. Last month, I asked SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman how her team managed to disburse nearly $30 billion for the Restaurant Relief Fund in 30 days, but took nearly six months to send a single dollar to the music industry. She said that her SVOG department was 'capable, being effective, and working diligently.' If her metric for being effective is delivering .6% of applicants’ grants in 165 days, then every Senator who supported her nomination should reconsider her ability to lead Main Street America through the pandemic. The SBA must be held accountable for their abdication of duty, but in the meantime they must find a department within their agency that can deliver the nearly $16 billion in SVOG funds that are still on the sidelines since President Trump signed them into law.”