Our small businesses represent the backbone of our economy. I know this from my experience as a former business leader and entrepreneur in Pennsylvania and now, as a member of the House Small Business Committee. Our community is at its strongest when our smallest businesses and working families have the resources they need to grow and thrive.
Regardless of one’s background, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all. However, small businesses have economically been hit the hardest. That’s why I was an early and avid supporter of the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, and other legislation to help our small business owners keep their employees on payroll. As we work to overcome this pandemic, I have continued to support additional targeted relief for our hardest-hit industries.
After hosting dozens of meetings with small business owners and our area Chambers of Commerce, I championed a bipartisan bill to make sure that the smallest of small businesses were able to have those loans forgiven. I continue to meet with community leaders to hear the challenges they face so I can work in Washington to make sure they have the support they need to weather this crisis. I welcomed President Biden to visit a small business here in southeastern PA, where we discussed how foundational and crucial our small businesses are to our Commonwealth’s and country’s economy.
I understand that when we invest in our small businesses, it pays off for our community many times over. That is why I have been proud to introduce legislation like the RAMP for Innovators Act and the Micro-SBIC and Emerging Managers Program Act. I remain committed to advancing my legislation and other bills to ensure underserved populations, entrepreneurs, and small business owners have access to the support and capital they need to retain and expand their business in the pandemic and beyond.
In the wake of Hurricane Ida, I heard from many small business owners who could not afford to take out a natural-disaster loan considering the burden of having yet another expense or bill to pay. To this point, FEMA estimates 40 – 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster. After hearing from my community, I have taken action to improve the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief loan programs and press the agency on the need for a Disaster Relief Protection Program to bolster financial support to small businesses following natural disasters.
Uplifting our small businesses remains one of my top priorities in Congress. Please know that I will continue to work with my colleagues on the House Small Business Committee, both Democrats and Republicans, to ensure that Congress advances legislation to provide for our working families and small businesses.