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Maria Elvira Salazar Gets RECLAIM Taxpayer Funds Act Through the House

Last week, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., got her “RECLAIM Taxpayer Funds Act” through the U.S. House without opposition.

“This bill will recover billions for the taxpayer by reclaiming fraudulent government loans and help us restore fiscal responsibility and government accountability,” Salazar’s office noted. “Specifically, the Returning Erroneous COVID Loans Addressing Illegal and Misappropriated (RECLAIM) Taxpayer Funds Act requires the Small Business Administration (SBA) to account for fraudulent and unused Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans distributed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A report from SBA Inspector General Hannibal Ware in June 2023 shows that of the $1.2 trillion in COVID Economic Injury and Disaster Loans (EIDL) given by the federal government since the beginning of the pandemic, $200 billion were found to be potentially fraudulent. SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman responded with a competing report the same day claiming only $36 billion of these loans were fraudulent,” the congresswoman’s office added. “On the day Administrator Guzman and Inspector General Ware were called in by the House Small Business Committee to explain this discrepancy, only Ware decided to show up. Since then, there has been no adequate explanation from the Small Business Administration on the extent of abuse in COVID EIDL loans, or how it will recoup stolen funds.”

Despite the lack of opposition from the Democrats and U.S. Rep. Morgan McGarvey, D-Ky., serving as the main co-sponsor, Salazar said the bill sent a “clear message” to the Biden White House.

“The federal government must step up and ensure that bad actors are not taking hard-earned taxpayer money,” said Salazar. “By passing the RECLAIM Taxpayer Funds Act, the House of Representatives is sending a clear message to the Biden administration to be better accountable for federal programs that are meant to serve, not steal.”

There is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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