house Resolution No.278

Reps. Koleszar, Rabhi, Greig, Hood, Clemente, Sowerby, Witwer, Ellison, Manoogian, Sabo, Hammoud, Anthony, Brixie, Pohutsky, Wittenberg, Brenda Carter, Shannon, Yancey, Kennedy, Hertel, Elder, Cambensy, Cynthia Neeley, Lasinski, Camilleri, Kuppa, Tyrone Carter and Cherry offered the following resolution:

A resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to take action to support small businesses and create the COVID-19 Business and Employee Continuity and Recovery Fund.

Whereas, The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a profound impact on American life. Since the virus first arrived in the United States in January, more than 2 million Americans have been infected and more than 110,000 have succumbed to the virus. In Michigan, nearly 60,0000 cases have been confirmed and more than 5,500 have died; and

Whereas, The virus has also brought unprecedented economic disruption. In order to contain the Pandemic, public health officials, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, have recommended or ordered the closure of nonessential businesses. These closures have contributed to the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression; and

Whereas, While there is hope of a swift recovery as many businesses begin to reopen, the full economic effect of the Pandemic remains to be determined. While many businesses have been closed or faced reduced revenue as a result of the Pandemic, they were still required to pay essential costs such as mortgages, rent, and utilities. A recent survey found that more than half of all small businesses are at risk of permanently closing in the next six months. In Michigan, about 14 percent of businesses have reported that they may not be able to survive the Pandemic; and

Whereas, The government has a responsibility to help small businesses weather the Pandemic's effects. The temporary closure of nonessential businesses, while necessary to protect public health, was government-ordered. It would be unjust to allow these businesses to fail because they complied with the orders; and

Whereas, Failing to support small businesses will magnify the economic devastation already wrought by the virus. Small businesses are a major source of employment and economic activity in Michigan and the United States. Allowing millions of small businesses to fail will leave tens of millions of Americans out of work and hinder the entire economy's recovery; and

Whereas, The small business aid already enacted by Congress has not been enough to meet the size of the crisis. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, has been insufficient to provide relief to the millions of small businesses affected by the crisis. Specifically, the Small Business Administration Inspector General found that the program may have failed to provide loans to rural and minority- and women-owned businesses. In addition, many business owners have complained the program's rules on the use of funds are too restrictive, and that aid cannot be used for critical expenses, including rent and utilities; and

Whereas, Creating the COVID-19 Business and Employee Continuity and Recovery Fund would address the shortfalls of the PPP and provide much needed relief to small businesses. The recovery fund would provide grants to businesses to be used for essential operating expenses. The program would give priority to businesses in rural communities and those owned by women or minorities; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we memorialize the Congress of the United States to take action to support small businesses and create the COVID-19 Business and Employee Continuity and Recovery Fund; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.