With COVID-19 on the rise in most states, and federal support for both small businesses and workers coming to an end, we are headed into a dramatically expanding fiscal crisis that has the potential to cause massive bankruptcies, permanent closures and decimation of Main Street small businesses.
But this is not inevitable. There must be a comprehensive set of policy programs that work together to address the severity and potential duration of this crisis. Main Street Alliance is introducing a Small Business Agenda for the lengthening pandemic, to move beyond the short term Paycheck Protection Program and lay a foundation for pandemic resilience and economic recovery.
The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, but the Senate has failed to act. President Trump says, “it is what it is,” and GOP Senate Leadership slow-walk relief legislation, not only delaying action but actively calling for harmful policies -- like unsafe school reopenings, tort reform instead of safety standards, and actively undermining public health recommendations -- these risky strategies have already cost more than 140,000 lives and thrown tens millions into financial chaos.
To weather our current public health emergency and growing financial crisis, Congress must immediately restructure the patchwork of short term federal relief programs into a comprehensive strategy designed to help Main Street and working people sustain their livelihoods until the US has contained the virus and there is a widely available vaccine, affordable to all.
A long term, comprehensive program that recognizes the diverse needs of small businesses and workers, provides flexibility and predictability, and offers interlocking programs that meet the scale and timeline of the crisis is needed. Congress and the Federal Government still have an opportunity to get this crisis in hand, but must act urgently. We must have a comprehensive set of solutions that are designed to meet the challenges posed by the public health and economic crisis our country faces.