With the outcome of the presidential election now certain, a transfer of power just seven weeks away, and a COVID vaccine soon to be deployed, it is tempting to breathe a sigh of relief, and to believe next year will better.
Our collective recovery, however, is by no means assured. We face the challenges of a divided government, an economic downturn, and the vaccination of an entire nation. Twenty-four million American households don’t have enough to eat, and one in six renters are behind on their rent. The most urgent work cannot wait for Inauguration Day.
Seeing lines at food banks that stretch for blocks, and hearing that so many families will go without the basic necessities this holiday season, is a powerful reminder that the crisis facing our fellow Americans is getting worse by the day. This is a time for all of us to do more to help, however we can. Rebuilding from the devastation of this virus will require businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropies to work together in new ways to generate catalytic impact. And it requires more resources from our federal government.
Of critical importance is the passage of stimulus legislation that provides additional economic relief to the most vulnerable, to those who have lost their jobs, to state and local governments whose tax bases have shrunk because of the virus, and to millions of small businesses. New restrictions on retail stores and indoor dining, enacted to curb the spread of COVID, have devastated many small businesses across the country. Without additional federal help, half of all our small businesses could close permanently. The economic consequences would be catastrophic, impacting every community in America.
Estimates range from hundreds of thousands to millions of small businesses that already have closed permanently because of the pandemic. Worse, 49 percent of all remaining small businesses do not believe they will be able to continue operations beyond the end of this year without more federal assistance, according to a recent survey by Small Business for America’s Future.
It’s time for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to put politics aside and come together on a meaningful stimulus package this month.
To remind them of their responsibility in this difficult time, the Small Business Recovery Initiative has created a short-but-powerful video that features small business owners from across the country calling on Congress to act. The video is connected to a national petition urging our leaders to resume immediate negotiations on a much-needed COVID relief package that includes significant help for small businesses. We believe that such help should adopt key principles from the bipartisan RESTART Act, which has 57 co-sponsors in the Senate and 171 in the House, and would create federally backed, low-interest loans to help small businesses sustain themselves until a vaccine is deployed at scale.
Every day that goes by, we are seeing the death of more small businesses. Please join me in supporting the Small Business Recovery Initiative by sharing the video with everyone you know – and encouraging them to share it, too.
I hope you will join us in calling on our country’s leaders to put partisanship aside and walk in the shoes of hardworking small business owners, who through no fault of their own, face the loss of their dreams and livelihoods. Let’s end this grim year by providing Americans with the resources to rebuild their businesses and lives.