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Travel Agencies Get Some Disaster Relief

House Small Business Committee Chairman hails SBA, OMB decision to help more businesses get disaster loans

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House Small Business Committee Chairman Don Manzullo (R-IL) praised the Administration last week for changing its size standards to allow more small-business travel agents hurt by the September 11 attacks to qualify for disaster loan assistance.

The SBA and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget notified Manzullo late Thursday that they had substantially raised the revenue size standard for travel agents seeking low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Now, travel agencies with annual revenues up to $3 million can qualify for the disaster loans. Previously, travel agencies with annual revenues exceeding $1 million were deemed "too large" and were ineligible for small-business relief.

"This is great news for many small travel agencies who have been shut out of small-business disaster programs because they have been deemed 'too large,'" Manzullo said. "Now they can get the help they need to survive these tough times and once again prosper."

Last week, Manzullo gathered SBA Administrator Hector Barreto and OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator John Graham at a small-business committee hearing to discuss the plight of struggling travel agencies. During the meeting, Barreto and Graham agreed to speed up their rulemaking process to quickly help the travel industry. Manzullo hopes to work closely with administrators Barreto and Graham in reviewing size standards for other small-business sectors.

"I congratulate Administrators Barreto and Graham for their quick decision to help our struggling small-business travel agencies," Manzullo said. "Their actions have saved many small businesses in our country and allowed many travel employees to keep their jobs."

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