Small Businesses Ask for More Aid to Ward Off COVID’s Economic Disaster

July 17, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
House Small Business Committee Chairman Jason Crow, D-Colo.

WASHINGTON – Small business representatives made a plea to Congress Thursday for assistance in getting Americans back to work after millions of workers lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said that without financial assistance and retraining of the workforce many jobs could be permanently lost.

The Federal Reserve Bank is projecting that U.S. gross domestic product fell a record 35.2% in the second quarter of this year.

Unemployment shot up from 3.5% in February to 14.7% in April. It now stands at 11.1%.

House Small Business Committee Chairman Jason Crow, D-Colo., said during the hearing that “42% of jobs that disappeared during the pandemic may never return.”

Many of the jobs are concentrated in restaurants, bars, clothing stores and other small businesses that say they will close up shop without government assistance.

“We might need to rethink incentives we provide employers,” Crow said.

So far, the Trump administration’s primary assistance to small businesses has been the $360 billion Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. It offers grants and low-interest loans to business owners to help them pay six months of their general operating expenses.

One new incentive being considered in Congress is the PPE Tax Credit Act introduced in the House this week.

The bipartisan bill would offer employers tax credits for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for themselves and employees to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Independent contractors, small businesses and nonprofit organizations could claim as much as $25,000 for the tax credit.

For small businesses, the pandemic means “many are facing atypical expenses,” said Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio, who co-sponsored the bill.

Witnesses at the hearing said job retraining could be crucial for getting the unemployed back into the workforce.

Joe Schaffer, president of Laramie County Community College in Wyoming, suggested that the federal government expand its Pell Grant program.

The grants are awarded based on need to low- and middle-income students. The money usually is paid directly to a college as a credit toward a student’s tuition. In some cases it can be a cash distribution to students.

“We have to find ways to help people get assistance and training and get back to work,” Schaffer said.

Community colleges are trying to focus their job training curriculum “where the needs are,” Schaffer said. Examples he mentioned included health care and technology.

Kelly Moore, vice president of GKM Auto Parts Inc. in Zanesville, Ohio, said job training expenses have hit small businesses hard.

“It is causing a strain on the businesses when they can least afford the strain,” she said.

Instead, some businesses are hiring inadequately trained workers who lose their jobs after failing to demonstrate basic skills, she said.

Congress

What They Are Saying about Amy Coney Barrett and the Future of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court
What They Are Saying about Amy Coney Barrett and the Future of the Supreme Court
September 27, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court Saturday afternoon, capping a dramatic first-term reshaping of the federal judiciary that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his re-election effort. Barrett, 48, a former clerk to the... Read More

Select Committee Makes Final Recommendation on How to Fix Congress
Congress
Select Committee Makes Final Recommendation on How to Fix Congress
September 25, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - An 18-month effort to make Congress work better and retain staff more effectively came to an end Thursday, when the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress announced its final list of recommendations. Created by an overwhelming bipartisan vote at the beginning of... Read More

Democrats Push for Climate Change Bills Similar to Biden’s Proposals
Congress
Democrats Push for Climate Change Bills Similar to Biden’s Proposals
September 25, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats used a hearing on climate change Thursday to advocate for pending clean energy bills that would revamp a big swath of federal regulations. Record-setting wildfires in western states and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast are adding to the fervor for aggressive environmental... Read More

For Democrats, Infrastructure Equals Fighting Climate Change and Creating Jobs
Energy
For Democrats, Infrastructure Equals Fighting Climate Change and Creating Jobs

WASHINGTON — In Democratic politics, and infrastructure and fighting climate change have become increasingly synonymous: You can’t have one without the other. Take the $494 billion surface transportation bill that House Democrats passed July 1. Republicans criticized it as an outgrowth of the Green New Deal.... Read More

House Democrats Drafting $2.4 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill
Congress
House Democrats Drafting $2.4 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has directed House committee leaders to put together a more slender coronavirus relief package than the one that previously passed the chamber, in their latest offer in talks with the White House. The House could vote on that as-yet-unreleased $2.4 trillion... Read More

Report Highlights Series of Proposals to Reverse Capitol Hill Brain Drain
Congress
Report Highlights Series of Proposals to Reverse Capitol Hill Brain Drain
September 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - In their recent report of Capitol Hill staffing issues, authors Alexandra Furnas and Timothy LaPira paint a harrowing picture of a culture that basically pushes its best resource -- its people -- to the private sector and away from public service. But Furnas and... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top