WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Small businesses and the workers they employ continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus as fears of a worsening epidemic grow.
From restaurants to retail, experts said few in this economy could be hit harder than America’s small business community.
As coronavirus cases continue to spread, small businesses are looking to Washington for help.
“We must summon every available resource of the U.S. government to overcome the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the U.S. economy,” said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH),
Chabot is among those who want fast action to protect America’s economic backbone as part of a massive stimulus bill.
“We know that there has to be an appropriate response for the owners as well as the employees to make sure that these small businesses stay whole,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
Chu discussed that response at a meeting of the House committee on small business.
“We know that businesses are truly suffering and that’s why the idea came up, to have small business loans for those who are affected by coronavirus and treat coronavirus like a disaster,” she said.
The $8.3 billion emergency spending bill signed by the president last week includes money for those loans.
Some lawmakers said the total response needs to protect business owners and their workers.
“Paid sick leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, food security, clear protections for frontline workers,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).
New York Rep. Steve Higgins proposed a way to make more paid leave a reality for 32 million Americans.
“A one-time federal tax credit could offset the cost of universal paid leave,” Higgins said.
Congress leaves for recess at the end of this week, and at this point, it’s not clear which ideas could become part of a final relief bill.