Small Business Group Calls the Senate Passage of Phase-Two of the Coronavirus Relief Plan a Missed Opportunity

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Statement by John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, critiquing the Senate’s passage of the coronavirus disaster bill for not including overwhelming help for small businesses

Today, the United States Senate let a critical opportunity to provide immediate relief to America’s struggling small businesses pass by. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic entrepreneurs across the country have closed signs hanging on their doors for the foreseeable future, bills are piling up, employees are being let go, and for some business owners this will mean the end of their business for good.

This is an unprecedented event that requires necessary, decisive action to provide an immediate cash infusion to businesses in need. Instead, Congress has chosen to adopt a piecemeal, multi-phase approach to providing relief. Such an approach has left business owners guessing for the past week, and right now there is no definitive timeframe for when relief will be received. Each day that passes without action by the federal government is another day that business owners are presented with impossible choices between letting go of their employees or somehow keeping their business afloat. The time for a massive stimulus for small businesses was yesterday.

Sadly, the signal that was sent today by the Senate to small business owners is wait your turn, we will help you eventually.

Lawmakers and the Administration must not delay any further. We urge them to immediately act on the following measures: 

Pass an immediate and robust stimulus package for small businesses.

Increase responsible credit and cash flow for affected small business by:

  • Passing the SBA Business Stabilization Direct Loan Program Act of 2020, which would create a new program under the SBA to directly supply interest-free loans to small businesses being impacted by COVID-19.
  • Passing the new SBA Disaster Grants, as proposed by Senate Democrats, which would direct grants for eligible small business recipients to help cover the cost of lost business, providing paid sick leave, and more.
  • Adjusting repayment due dates on loans, property taxes, and commercial to give small businesses the flexibility they need to stay afloat. For example, Senate Democrats proposed a payment forbearance for six months on loan repayments.

Streamline information and simplify the disaster loan assistance program: The Small Business Administration must utilize its network to immediately and effectively inform small businesses about how to access loans through the SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance program. Additionally, the application process for a SBA disaster loan must be simplified to ensure that capital reaches business owners in a timely manner.

Increase funding for unemployment insurance and ensure employers who are forced to layoff their workers are not penalized for doing so down the road. 

For more information on the emergency response policies Small Business Majority recommends amid the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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