Dec 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Petition backed by Howard Schultz urges Congress to pass small business aid

Screenshot from small business relief video
Screenshot via

The Small Business Recovery Initiative, a group backed by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, released a video on Tuesday featuring struggling small business owners urging viewers to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass COVID relief.

Why it matters: Recent data increasingly shows the economic recovery is floundering, as coronavirus cases surge and states tighten up restrictions ahead of what is likely to be a grim winter for many families and small businesses. Many of the economic safety nets that vulnerable Americans rely on are set to expire in December.

What they're saying: "Seeing lines at food banks that stretch for blocks, and hearing that so many families will go without the basic necessities this holiday season, is a powerful reminder that the crisis facing our fellow Americans is getting worse by the day," Schultz wrote in a letter calling on others to support the petition.

  • "This is a time for all of us to do more to help, however we can," he continued. "Rebuilding from the devastation of this virus will require businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropies to work together in new ways to generate catalytic impact. And it requires more resources from our federal government."
  • Watch the video.

The big picture: Last month, a survey from Goldman Sachs found that the number of small businesses that said they were unsure whether or not they would be able to survive had reached its highest level since the survey began.

  • More than half of small business owners (52%) had stopped paying themselves in a bid to keep their businesses afloat, while four in 10 (42%) had already begun laying off employees or cutting worker pay.
  • 38% of those surveyed said they would have to lay off more employees or cut employee compensation without additional help from Congress, and 20% said they would not be able to pay their commercial rent through the end of the year.

Driving the news: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plan to discuss COVID relief on Tuesday for the first time since October, when negotiations fell apart ahead of the election.

  • The talks come hours after a group of bipartisan senators released a $906 billion stimulus proposal — one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Go deeper: Economic safety nets to disappear in December as coronavirus surges

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