A Note from Rep. Velázquez

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Volume 1 Issue 4

Velázquez E-Update

A Note from Rep. Velázquez
Before the year closes out, I wanted to send you one last “E-Update” and discuss some of my work in 2015.

A lot has happened since I last emailed you. The President signed into law my legislation giving small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy another chance to receive federal loans. We have also been continuing our efforts to have Congress address the Puerto Rico financial crisis.  A number of local issues important to our City have also moved to the front burner.
I fully expect we will have a busy January when Congress returns in 2016, so please stay in touch.  You should feel free to visit my district offices or call my Washington office at 202-225-2361 with your thoughts. You can also stay in touch with social media. My official Facebook page can be found here or follow me on Twitter – @NydiaVelazquez.

Thanks for reading and best wishes for the Holidays.

Sincerely,

Nydia M. Velázquez

Member of Congress

Emergency Loans Reopened for Businesses Harmed by Hurricane Sandy
Thanks to a new law authored by Rep. Velázquez, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that it is reopening the emergency loan application process for small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Under the new law, the “Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act,” small businesses and homeowners who suffered damage from Sandy will have another year to apply for emergency loans.  The Congresswoman had previously requested a Government Accountability Office study that found the SBA’s disaster loan program after Sandy was slow and bureaucratic, causing many loan applicants to give up on the process.  In addition to reopening the lending period, the new law makes important changes to the initiative, cutting through red tape plaguing the program.

The Associated Press covered the final passage of the Congresswoman’s bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support.

Businesses and homeowners with questions about the program should contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Continuing Work to Assist Puerto Rico
Congresswoman Velázquez is continuing her efforts to secure assistance for Puerto Rico.  She and Democratic Leader Pelosi pushed the House Republican Leadership to include in Congress’ year-end spending bill language that would allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt. You can see the Congresswoman’s floor speech on this topic here.

Although House Republicans did not include this language, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), did agree to hold a hearing on the topic when Congress returns in January with the goal of moving legislation before March.

The Congresswoman has said she will pursue any and all options to assist the island and help stymie this fiscal emergency, which threatens economic catastrophe for 3.5 million American citizens. She is supporting legislation authored by Leader Pelosi that would provide Puerto Rico a short-term stay of legal actions by certain creditors while Congress considers broader debt restructuring legislation.

House Passes Year-End Spending Bill, Zadroga Health Act, Bipartisan Small Business Items
On December 18th, the House passed a year-end spending bill, funding the government for the next 12 months. The legislation provides some relief from the low “sequester” levels of spending that had reduced funding for many local programs.

The measure also extended the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a measure that helps pay for medical care for first responders suffering from ailments related to their time at the World Trade Center disaster site.

While the Congresswoman was disappointed the year-end bill failed to meaningfully address Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems, she voted for the package because of the valuable funding it contains and to ensure the 9/11 health initiative is extended.  You can read her statement on the Omnibus here.

The measure also contains two provisions to help meet small businesses’ financing needs. As the Ranking Democrat of the House Committee on Small Business, the Congresswoman worked with her Republican colleagues to see those measures enacted. You can read more here.

Velázquez Writes Parks Department on Safety Issues
After a Red Hook deliveryman was killed by a tree being felled by Parks Department contractors, the Congresswoman has written to the Parks Department calling for a review of the agency’s safety protocols.  You can read the text of the letter here.

To unsubscribe reply to this email or email nydia.velazquez@mail.house.gov

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