November 27, 2021
Dear Fellow Marylander,
I hope you were able to spend time with your loved ones over the holiday. Today is Small Business Saturday, so I also hope you will join me in supporting the small businesses that do so much for our communities.
As we begin our second winter in the pandemic, we have a stronger public health infrastructure and three safe and effective vaccines available. Thanks to the leadership of President Joe Biden and passage of the historic American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, our economy is recovering. But our local small businesses still need help.
First celebrated in 2010, Small Business Saturday has become an annual tradition for many communities across the country. Thanks to the wide availability of vaccines and corresponding leveling off of COVID-19 cases in many communities nationwide, a record-breaking number of Americans are expected to participate in Small Business Saturday this year, according to the National Retail Federation. As many as 2 million more Americans report that they intend to shop small this year versus last year.
When I meet with small business owners across Maryland, they often remind me that the holiday season is when they grow their businesses and create jobs. Small Business Saturday is the beginning of the holiday shopping season for small businesses, with nearly 60 percent of small business owners reporting that the celebration “contributes significantly to their holiday sales.”
These sales also boost our local economy. Small business owners reinvest their profits back into their communities at much higher rates than large companies by creating jobs and supporting schools, little league teams, houses of worship, and community organizations. According to a 2018 study, an estimated 2 out of every 3 dollars spent with a small business stays in the community, and every dollar spent with a small business generates 50 cents in additional local business activity.
Today, I will be in Annapolis with my wife, Myrna, to do some holiday shopping and visit some of our favorite shops and restaurants.
And when Congress returns to Washington on Monday, I will continue fighting for resources and support for small businesses as Congress works through a lengthy agenda of to-do items before the end of the year.
More than 180,000 Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants remain unfulfilled, and Congress must make sure there are funds available. We simply cannot mistake the hopeful signs of recovery for proof that restaurants are back to where they were before the pandemic. They are not. Restaurants nationwide remain buried under more than a year-and-a-half of debt and they are struggling to rehire staff and purchase supplies. I am working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues in the House and Senate to provide funding to RRF and other hard-hit businesses that are still struggling to recover. I am hopeful that we will be able to pass legislation to provide additional funding by the end of this year.
And now that the House has passed President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, it is time for the Senate to act. It is difficult to overstate how important this budget is for the future of small businesses. The budget will invest $5 billion in our nation’s small businesses, with a focus on supporting those in our most underserved communities—that have also been among the hardest-hit during the pandemic.
So I hope you will join me today as we celebrate our small businesses by Shopping Small and Shopping Local. I intend to remain laser-focused on the work that remains for us in Congress. We have an opportunity to reshape our economy to make it fairer and more equitable for our small businesses and our local communities. Congress cannot let this chance go to waste.
Stay safe and well, especially during this holiday season. We are not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, as cases are rising nationally. Getting your booster shot is important for your community to remain safe.