Derailment of Vote on Build Back Better Plan is a Setback for Small Businesses Amid Already Strained Economy

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, December 20, 2021

Statement from John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, admonishing Sen. Joe Manchin’s decision to block access to critical benefits for small business owners and their employees

“Senator Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) announcement yesterday that he is ending negotiations on the Build Back Better plan is a blow to small businesses in West Virginia and across the country. 

A month after the U.S. House of Representatives passed this critical bill and after months of negotiations, Sen. Manchin has thwarted any potential progress to help America’s small employers compete with larger companies amid a fluctuating economy and ongoing public health crises. The provisions in the Build Back Better plan would invest in benefits such as healthcare, childcare and paid family leave necessary for small business owners to combat economic setbacks and labor shortages. 

Our recent research shows that small businesses are being harmed by ongoing supply chain problems and continued disruptions to their business operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 37% reporting their business is on the decline compared to the previous month. Many of America’s job creators were looking to the U.S. Senate to quickly pass this bill and provide the critical benefit assistance needed to bolster the nation’s economy. 

Small business owners need and support the benefits included in the Build Back Better bill to give them the economic foundation to promote a more resilient workforce. In particular, 65% of small businesses support a proposal to provide four weeks of paid family and medical leave, and they strongly favor a number of provisions to strengthen our nation’s childcare system and make it more affordable.

Additionally, as small businesses have always found access to healthcare to be challenging, the provisions to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by reducing health insurance premiums for more than 9 million Americans who buy insurance through the ACA marketplace, many of whom are small business owners, will be a tremendous asset. 

It's also important to note that negotiations have already led to a drastic reduction in aid for small businesses: $25 billion for small business-related assistance and programs was greatly reduced to only $5 billion in the House-passed bill. Our research has found strong support for the provisions to expand the U.S. Small Business Administration’s ability to directly lend to small business owners.

We strongly urge Sen. Manchin to return to the negotiating table in 2022 to ensure small businesses have the tools they need for long-term recovery. We support the White House and Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) vow to hold a vote on this bill early next year and to keep voting until the Senate gets something done. By supporting the vital resources in the Build Back Better bill, Sen. Manchin and the U.S. Senate will position small businesses to be at the center of a thriving and equitable economy.” 


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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