November • December 2021 9 $4.5 billion for direct loans through the 7(a) program. Using EIDL’s fraud numbers, we can expect $1.35 billion of that to be handed over to bad actors. On top of that, Democrats are now putting the government in direct competition with the smallest financial institutions in Colorado and nationwide. When the COVID pandemic shut down the country, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program and turned to financial institutions and bankers like you to help save the economy in Colorado and across the country. As you know, banks, community development financial institutions, minority deposit institutions, and credit unions worked day and night to assist millions of small-business owners fighting with every ounce of their energy to survive and keep their workers employed. Now, these very institutions have a new, very powerful competitor: the federal government. As the Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee, I am doing everything in my power to put an end to government direct lending. My Republican colleagues on the committee and I are drafting legislation to reform the SBA, a key aspect of which is stripping their direct lending authority. Many loan guarantee programs have been successful, particularly for small and disadvantaged businesses. That is where the government authority should end. I feel confident that private sector and industry experts like you are more than equipped to handle the rest. History has shown too many times that the government’s shortcomings end with American citizens paying the price. It needs to stop. Many loan guarantee programs have been successful, particularly for small and disadvantaged businesses. That is where the government authority should end.