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Shaheen, Risch Rural Disaster Assistance Bill Clears Committee

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Senate Small Business Committee voted unanimously to pass the bipartisan Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, led by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jim Risch (R-ID). This legislation will allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to more easily access disaster relief in the wake of a natural disaster.

“I’m excited my bipartisan bill with Senator Risch to help rural businesses access emergency disaster relief unanimously passed a key committee hurdle today. The pandemic slammed businesses in New Hampshire and across rural America, which is why the last thing they should have to worry about is bureaucratic obstacles,” said Shaheen. “I hope the Senate acts swiftly to pass this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to ensure rural businesses owners have the relief they need to stay afloat when disaster strikes.”

“When rural communities experience natural disasters, bureaucratic red tape often delays critical assistance to families and small businesses. Our bill fixes that,” said Risch. “I thank Chairman Cardin, Ranking Member Paul and my fellow colleagues for their support of this commonsense legislation."

Additional cosponsors of the legislation include Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Under current law, bureaucratic roadblocks prevent small businesses and homeowners in rural communities from accessing Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance following a natural disaster. The Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act allows the Governor of a state to request disaster assistance from the SBA during a presidentially-declared disaster, allowing rural communities to more readily access and secure SBA disaster assistance during the greatest times of need.