By Clarissa Kell-Holland
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-WA, introduced a bill in September that would allow small-business truckers to apply for low-interest loans to keep their businesses afloat in the wake of record high fuel prices that have squeezed truckers’ bottom lines.
According to Baird’s legislation – HR6922 – transportation businesses that have “suffered, or that are likely to suffer, from high fuel prices, would be able to apply for the emergency loans through the Small Business Administration.”
The loans would be capped at $250,000 and would be offered under “terms similar to those offered through the SBA’s ‘essential employee’ program, which allows small businesses to seek disaster assistance if one of their employees is a military reservist who gets called up to active duty,” according to the legislation.
As of press time, the bill had been referred to the House Committee on Small Business. Baird is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Five U.S. representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill: Norman Dicks, D-WA; Peter DeFazio, D-OR; John Salazar, D-CO; Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-SD; and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-NY.
Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association – along with OOIDA member Sherrie Bond – worked with Baird’s office to develop the bill.
“We cannot just sit idly by while a significant part of our nation’s economy disappears,” Baird said in a news release.
OOIDA is encouraging truckers and their friends and families to call the offices of both their U.S. senators and their U.S. representative to ask them to support HR6922.
Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and provide the operator with your home ZIP code, and the operator will connect you with the offices of your elected representatives. LL