WASHINGTON – The COVID-19 pandemic and economic disruption continues to wreak havoc on families, businesses, health systems, and our economy. Americans are still reeling from the Trump Administration’s botched COVID-19 response, which left the nation with hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths, over 10 million Americans out of work, and put nearly 100,000 small businesses permanently out of businesses.
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee and a key proponent of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act, were joined on a press call today by Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer to discuss the urgent need for COVID-19 relief for small businesses and states, localities, and Tribal nations, and U.S. Territories responsible for essential community services.
“The American Rescue Plan is a bold solution to get Americans vaccinated and support small businesses through the remainder of the pandemic,” Senator Cardin said. “This bill will provide overdue relief to the hardest hit small businesses, including restaurants and Black-and Latino-owned small businesses. We must pass this overdue relief as quickly as possible to put our nation on the road to recovery.”
“Congressional Republicans have made a calculated decision to oppose the American Rescue Plan in lock step. But that won’t stop Democrats from delivering much-needed, long-overdue targeted assistance to the American people. And even though Republicans inside the Beltway oppose the plan, it has broad bipartisan support from people across the country, and from Red state Governors and nearly three dozen independent and Republican Mayors who all recognize the need to surge vaccines, save lives and jobs, and strengthen our economy. I hope Republicans will join us, but President Biden and the Democratic majority are determined to do our part to deliver the relief Americans desperately need and voted for,” said Senator Reed.
“I thank Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Jack Reed for continuing to fight for our diverse residents and small businesses. Pawtucket truly appreciates the hard work of both Senators to provide necessary relief for the families, businesses, and communities who have experienced a negative economic impact as a direct result of the pandemic,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien.
“Without additional funding, 3 in 10 small businesses report they will not survive the next few months. This is why small businesses need the U.S. Senate to immediately pass the American Rescue Plan and send it to President Biden’s desk for his signature,” said John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. “The plan includes several critical provisions, including funds for grants, loans and business assistance to help small businesses in under-resourced and underbanked communities. Small businesses that are struggling to keep their doors open can’t afford to wait for additional relief, and we need policymakers on both sides of the aisle to act on this now.”
This week the U.S. Senate is taking up a comprehensive package of legislation that includes help for struggling small businesses, states, and communities. The American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals, an extension of unemployment insurance, and tens of billions in aid for small businesses and not-for-profits, as well as $350 billion for state, local, and Tribal governments, many of which have experienced increased costs and lower tax revenues due to the pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan is supported by a broad, diverse and bipartisan coalition—including governors, mayors, and small business owners in red states and blue states alike—who agree that this legislative package is necessary to help save lives, livelihoods, and Main Street businesses.
Without this needed, long overdue federal relief, states, localities, Tribal nations, and U.S. territories could face steep workforce reductions, increased costs associated with addressing the pandemic, and large budget shortfalls that could endanger critical community services. State and local government employment—including teachers, firefighters, public health workers, and police officers—has already fallen in all 50 states compared to the same period in 2019. And states and local governments are in dire need of federal assistance to meet the unprecedented costs necessary to address this immediate crisis, limit long-term harm caused by the pandemic, and address longstanding inequities exacerbated by COVID-19.
The American Rescue Plan will address the ongoing needs of small businesses in the hardest-hit communities and business sectors by providing:
- $25 billion in grants for restaurants and bars that have lost revenue because of the pandemic;
- $15 billion funds Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance grants of up to $10,000 per business;
- $7.25 billion plus up of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that expands eligibility for nonprofits and digital media companies;
- $1.25 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program;
- $175 million for Community Navigator pilot program which is designed to help small businesses in underserved and underbanked communities access the COVID-19 relief resources available to them; and more.
Additionally, the American Rescue Plan will provide a $350 billion state and local aid package to help states and local governments of all sizes deal with urgent needs and lagging, negative economic impacts of COVID-19, including:
- $195.3 billion directed to state governments, with $169 billion distributed based on a state’s share of total unemployed workers, with $25.5 billion evenly divided among all states and the District of Columbia – with each state receiving a minimum of $500 million;
- $130.2 billion targeted to local governments and equally divided between cities and counties using a formula that targets funds to areas of greatest need;
- $20 billion for Tribal governments; and
- $4.5 billion to U.S. Territories.