(WAFB) - A bill giving more flood victims a chance at financial assistance overcame a major hurdle in Washington Thursday.
The bill, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, aims to fix the "duplication of benefits" issue that has plagued recovery efforts for many of those impacted by the August 2016 flood.
Currently under federal guidelines, if someone receives or even just applies for an SBA loan, it can limit how much they receive from the Restore Louisiana program. In some cases, it can outright disqualify them. Unlike money from the Restore LA program, SBA loans carry interest and must be paid back.
Congressman Garret Graves, who is among those authoring the policy change included in the legislation, says the current guideline penalizes those who were proactive in trying to rebuild their homes. "It's a perverse policy. It does not make any sense. You can't defend it, nor should anyone try," Graves said. "We've passed the bill that is going to fix that once and for all, and not just for the August flood, but fix it forever moving forward."
The legislation now heads to the Senate, where Graves says he has been working with both of Louisiana's senators, along with other lawmakers, to sure up support.