Gus Bilirakis: NPRC, SBA Need to Respond Better to Constituents’ Needs

This week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., noted his increased frustration with the lack of response from two federal agencies.

Bilirakis signaled out the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which provides copies of veterans’ service records and the Small Business Administration (SBA), which was tasked with allocating critical federal funds to help small businesses survive pandemic-related challenges, for not responding to constituents’ needs.

The congressman wrote both agencies on the matter.

In his letter to SBA Regional Administrator Allen Thomas, Bilirakis wrote, “One of the most pressing issues facing many local business owners in my community is the SBA’s lack of responsiveness to my constituents’ individual SBA related cases. I currently have 66 pending Congressional inquiry requests… that were sent to your team for assistance. In some cases, constituents are being asked to make repayments on funds for grants they have never received. My understanding is that current SBA policy is that no cases are to be expedited, regardless of how minor of a fix may be needed. Some of the cases I have sent your team have been waiting for almost a year, which is simply unacceptable! Each of these cases represents a pressing need from a local employer who is struggling to keep his/her business afloat during unprecedented times. The funding allocated from Congress over the past two years to help them does very little good, if it is not distributed as intended. While I understand that your agency has a backlog due to pandemic-related challenges, the ongoing delays and lack of responsiveness is simply inexcusable. Other federal, state, and local agencies have found a way to fulfill their public obligation and provide essential services.”

In a similar message to the NPRC, Bilirakis wrote, “I currently have 38 constituents…who are still awaiting their records, one of which dates back to September 2019. This is simply unacceptable! Each of these cases represent a pressing need from a veteran who has honorably served our nation and deserves for his/her public servants to provide timely documentation of that service. In one of the most extreme examples, I have a blind, elderly veteran who can no longer care for himself. He is waiting for confirmation of his service so that he can enter a veterans’ senior living facility.”

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