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Screenshot via helpsmallbusinessesnow.com

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

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Janet Yellen confirmed as Treasury secretary

Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday.

Why it matters: Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

Jan 25, 2021 - Podcasts

Biden's narrow path to COVID relief

President Joe Biden has called his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package his top priority. To that end, he had a key bipartisan group of senators meet with White House officials yesterday. So what will it take to get a bipartisan COVID relief bill passed in Congress?

  • Plus, the biggest Russian national uprising facing Putin in 20 years.
  • And, a historic year for the Super Bowl.
Updated 16 mins ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.