As the House plans to vote on the $900 Billion Year End COVID Relief Bill today, Main Street Alliance Executive Director Amanda Ballantyne had this to say:
"Small businesses have been desperately waiting for additional COVID relief since May. This latest COVID relief bill finally brings forward the urgently needed extensions in unemployment, additional direct cash assistance, and small business support and clarity. The direct support for live venues and cultural institutions as well as an expansion of the EIDL grant program will be critical for businesses in industries that will be the last to return.
The renewal of the PPP forgivable loan program is critical to those who can access it. And the inclusion of a first draw for those who were left behind and set-asides for CDFIs and Minority Development Institutions will be a piece of remedying the structural inequity of the program.
After sustained advocacy, we are also glad to see more support for paid sick days and paid leave with an extension similar to the Families First programs through March 2021, though there are still major gaps in these programs. An expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit will also help with payroll support for businesses looking to start up as vaccines begin to roll out.
The main goal now is to get these programs up and running as quickly as possible, with robust outreach components and clear rules from the beginning, to get needed relief to the businesses who are on the edge. For those who struggled to access funding in the first place, there must be added attention to make sure the funds set aside of minority-owned businesses and micro-businesses make it to those who truly need them. Speed alone, will not be enough.
Understanding that the secured funding for child care, and the lack of additional funding for states is nowhere near enough to tackle this crisis, this bill should be viewed as a bridge to a more robust economic stimulus package early next year as we transition from immediate crisis to rebuilding.
Main Street Alliance and our small business members urge the House and Senate to pass this bill immediately and a swift signing into law by the President. The long delay in negotiations over the last 6 months as the pandemic spiraled out of control has proven devastating to families and small businesses, and we must implement these programs as quickly as possible with equity and justice as the foundation."