The House on Thursday passed an amendment Thursday to provide disaster assistance to homeowners whose main residence is affected by Chinese drywall.
The amendment by U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Glenn Nye authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide low-interest disaster loans to repair or replace real estate and personal property damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.
"The impact of Chinese drywall on homeowners is no different than a hurricane or any other natural disaster," Buchanan said in a press release. "These people need assistance to clean up their homes."
The House voted unanimously to amend the "Small Business Financing and Investment Act of 2009" (H.R. 3854), which passed the House 389-32, to allow the SBA administrator to lend money to homeowners for the repair or replacement of toxic drywall manufactured in China.
"A house is a big investment," Buchanan said. "I have met with constituents who have sunk their life savings into retirement homes that are uninhabitable and can't be sold, and young families concerned about the potentially harmful health effects of living with Chinese drywall."
Anecdotal evidence points to the defective Chinese drywall as being responsible for chronic respiratory problems. Pregnant women have been advised to move out of their homes for the safety of their unborn children.
An estimated 100,000 homeowners across the country are believed to have the potentially toxic wallboard, including 36,000 Florida homeowners.
The small business financing and business bill also incorporates the "Job Creation and Economic Development Through CDC Modernization Act of 2009" (H.R. 3739), which Buchanan introduced. The measure increases the transparency and efficiency of the Certified Development Company program and doubles the program's maximum loan size to make it a more effective financing tool for small businesses.