Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today about the joint Democratic request to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide relief funds for businesses that have been adversely affected by consumers' fear of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In a letter to the SBA, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus David Wu, Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez, and 51 of their House colleagues urged President Bush and SBA to provide immediate relief to SARS-affected businesses through SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.
"I am extremely concerned about the economic impact of the SARS scare on Asian American communities in my district and across the country and urge President Bush and SBA to provide economic relief to businesses that have been hurt by consumers' fear of contracting SARS. There is no doubt that we need to take precautions against the spread of SARS, but we must also make sure that fear of this disease does not lead to discrimination against members of the Asian American community. The American people should continue visiting Chinatowns and patronizing businesses owned and operated by peoples of Asian descent.
"We are grateful that we have had no SARS-related deaths in the U.S., and I am personally thankful that there has not been even one confirmed case of SARS in my district in San Francisco. The Centers for Disease Control and public health departments across the country have done a commendable job of preventing an outbreak of SARS in the U.S."
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