Reps. García, Moore, Cisneros, and Speier Advocate for Small Business Grants, Not Just Loans, and Relief for Minority-Owned Small Businesses

March 20, 2020
Press Release
Any relief package must help all small businesses, including minority owned small businesses, recover, not put them in debt

Chicago, IL - Today, Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), and Jackie Speier (CA-14) along with 32 Members of Congress urged leaders in the House and Senate to consider providing grants and direct cash in addition to loans to small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. They also urged them to include specific protections for minority-owned small businesses.

“Small businesses, many minority-owned, play a crucial role in the identity of the Chicagoland area, especially in the district I represent,” said Rep. Chuy García. “If our goal is to get small businesses back on their feet, the government must provide grants rather than just loans, which could force businesses into decades of debt. That’s why I’m urging House and Senate leadership to ensure that all small businesses, including minority-owned small businesses, have the assistance they need to recover.”

"Small businesses are job creators in our communities, but often lack the resources to endure trying times like these. This is an unfortunate reality for many minority-owned businesses. It is critical that the federal government uses a range of tools to help small businesses including grants, and targets their resources to ensure that minority owned businesses are supported and not overlooked,” said Rep. Gwen Moore.

“While Congress is working on passing a third coronavirus response bill, we need to ensure that the stimulus package directly addresses the needs of our small businesses, especially our minority-owned small businesses. They’ve been making countless sacrifices, taking on debt, and meeting every challenge head on during our public health crisis,” said Rep. Gil Cisneros. “It's been especially hard for our AAPI small businesses owners in the 39th District, who have been suffering through stigma, fear, and paranoia over the virus. I join my House colleagues in strongly urging for a grant program in the stimulus package to help all of our small businesses recover. We cannot leave them behind.”

“I’ve heard from countless small business owners who are struggling to afford sky-high rents and business costs in the Bay Area while also trying to avoid layoffs and do right by their employees. The federal government needs to step up and provide immediate relief through grants and zero interest loans. Now is not the time to short-change the American people,” said Rep. Jackie Speier.

The text of the letter is below, and a signed copy can be found here.

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer:

As both chambers continue work on additional stimulus measures to mitigate the severe economic disruption caused by COVID-19, we write to urge you to consider providing grants to small businesses, in addition to loans. We additionally urge you to include specific provisions to help minority owned businesses through this difficult time.

Small businesses are already facing significant financial hardship from the widespread negative economic impact of COVID-19. Managing new debt while returning to normal business operations could slow the recovery of entire communities. This is especially true for minority owned small businesses and small businesses operating in communities of color, which some experts predict could be hit especially hard by the effects of coronavirus disease.

We urge inclusion of grant programs and specific provisions for minority owned businesses, and look forward to working with you to fulfill our mutual goal of protecting small businesses from the negative economic effects of COVID-19. Thank you for your attention to these matters.