On the multiple new COVID relief bills from the Senate today, Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance Amanda Ballantyne had this to say:
“Small businesses need COVID relief urgently and have been saying so for months. At the absolute deadline and on the edge of a Winter surge and crisis, a bipartisan group of Senators has put together an offer that is both desperately needed and nowhere near enough. In this moment, small businesses and their customers, the American people, need this urgent relief. But we must acknowledge that this is only a desperate stepping stone to more robust support.
Another bill offered by Senate Democrats to extend unemployment is also important to the economy overall, and the two bills need to come together. Small businesses need direct support, and their customers need robust unemployment assistance to revive the economy.
The additional funds that double down on the Paycheck Protection Program will continue to double down on the lending disparities and relief seen in the first rounds. And the inclusion of corporate immunity, will only make fighting the virus even more difficult as it incentivizes bad business practices, harming small businesses in the long run. This inclusion of the Republican line in the sand is even more frustrating when small businesses have chosen paid leave supports over immunity by 2 to 1, and yet there has been no extension or expansion of these critical public health tools.
The urgent need is so great that we must encourage Congress to bring these bills together, and make very clear that after this stopgap we must push for a comprehensive plan that supports addressing the racial and economic disparities of the current programs, including grant programs to fill the gaps the PPP has created, and expands the paid leave and paid sick days provisions, provides robust support for States to get the virus under control and distribute vaccines.”