April 23, 2021
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), questioned Dilawar Syed, CEO of Lumiata, on his nomination to be Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
Inhofe: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Inhofe: My timing is perfect. I was delayed on the floor, but I definitely wanted to get in here. I have a couple of things to talk to Mr. Syed about. Mr. Syed, the CARES Act included funding to allow the SBA to provide debt relief payments for regular SBA loans. Now, this program was extended through the December 2021- the omnibus- allowing SBA to make up to eight additional monthly debt relief payments. Now, businesses in my state of Oklahoma have benefited greatly from this program, but there are concerns that once the program ends, businesses will be unprepared to resume regular loan payments. Now, the SBA should consider providing banks with increased flexibility with payments of loans. Are you aware of these concerns? Is this something that you have run into?
Syed: Senator Inhofe, I am aware of the payment relief, just really from friends that were able to get payment relief for the 7(a) and 504 programs.
Inhofe: Now, if you are confirmed, can you commit to proactively helping businesses to begin regular loan payments? This has grown to be a problem. Can you do that for me?
Syed: Senator, if confirmed, I will work with the administration to see what levers can be applied.
Inhofe: Okay, that’s good. Now, the other thing that I was interested in is information that keeps coming to light because it is a pretty toxic subject that Planned Parented has illegally received the PPP loans despite the SBA’s affiliate rules. Affiliate rules provide that, first of all, it has to be under 500, and they count the affiliates in with this. Now, with the affiliates, Planned Parenthood is some 16,000 people. So, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be disqualified just on those lines. What is your feeling about that?
Syed: I’m sorry, Senator, can you repeat your question?
Inhofe: What is your feeling about the fact that Planned Parenthood, we understand, has received some of the PPP loans, I contend that are illegal because, first of all, just the size limit of five hundred, and they are a group of 16,000. So, would you believe that they would not qualify for the PPP loans because of size and affiliate size alone?
Syed: So, Senator, it is an important question, and we had this this discussion earlier. I am obviously not familiar with the rules as applied to this particular entity. If confirmed, what I can commit to you is that I will work with the administrator to make sure that we are applying rules consistently for all organizations as laid out in the law.
Inhofe: I am not sure it would be necessary to do that because you do have a hard fast rule on the number 500 and this falls way outside of that, so the only question I have is, is there a loophole I don’t know about where this would be a legal and appropriate application of the PPP program.
Syed: Senator, with all due respect, I am not obviously familiar with the application of this particular entity and what was applied. Again, what I am committing to you, with absolute certainty, is that we will work to apply the rules consistently across and make sure that there is proper legitimacy and review.
Inhofe: Well, do you know of any exceptions that are in the rules, or the rules in this case, that would provide for it to exceed the 500 limitation for the appropriate programs?
Syed: Senator, I am obviously not privy to the rules; I am not in the job yet, so I am not able to comment on that. Again, I hear your concern. It was brought up earlier as well. I commit to you that I will work with the administrator and the staff to make sure we are applying rules consistently for all entities.
Inhofe: Well, alright. I will be checking in at the appropriate time then. Thank you very much.
Syed: Thank you, Senator.
Inhofe: Thank you, Mr. Chairman