WASHINGTON – With Monday’s looming deadline for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications after Hurricane Katrina, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) today called on the government to extend the deadline. On May 5th, Landrieu and Kerry met with business owners from some of the hardest hit parts of New Orleans who still have yet to get the financial assistance they need to rebuild and recover.

“Many businesses in Louisiana are still struggling to find the resources necessary to re-open and remain open,” Sen. Landrieu said. “As our business owners continue to return and assess their damages from Katrina, it is important to give these businesses additional time to apply for these vital low-interest economic injury loans.”

In Louisiana alone, over 18,000 businesses were catastrophically destroyed and more than 365,000 residents were displaced by the storms. Businesses located in the disaster declaration area that were adversely economically impacted can qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The physical disaster loan deadline for residents and businesses was May 10th, which was extended a number of times since the 2005 hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast.

“After walking through New Orleans East and talking to Gulf Coast small business owners, it’s obvious that Washington hasn’t done enough,” said Kerry, Ranking Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “It’s been nine months. We need to cut through the bureaucratic red tape once and for all so these businesses can once again thrive and drive the economy.”

Today, Landrieu and Kerry sent a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) chief Hector Barreto asking him to extend the EIDL deadline for victims of Hurricane Katrina to June 29th. The EIDL deadline for victims of Hurricane Rita is June 26th. In addition, the Senators sent a letter to the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asking for a monthly report of business activity in the New Orleans area so they can track employment, business openings and closures, and other information important to the region’s long-term economic recovery.

To read the letter to SBA, click here and to read the letter to BLS, click here.