Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With a new coronavirus relief measure stalled in Congress, CEOs of some of the world's biggest companies have banded together to send a message to Washington: Get money to small businesses now!

Why it matters: "By Labor Day, we foresee a wave of permanent closures if the right steps are not taken soon," warns the letter, organized by Howard Schultz and signed by more than 100 CEOs.

  • Signatories include the heads of Salesforce, Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft, Walmart, McDonald's, Disney, Quibi, IBM, Merck, Marriott, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more.

What's happening: The open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top lawmakers obtained first by Axios lays out a recipe for a sizable small-business aid package.

What they're saying: The project, Schultz's first big public push since he suspended his run for president, calls for "federally guaranteed loans, at favorable terms, that will enable small businesses to transform and sustain themselves."

  • "Businesses should have flexibility in how loan funds are used."
  • "The hardest-hit businesses should be eligible for at least partial loan forgiveness."
  • "Relief needs to be delivered expeditiously. Building on the existing PPP infrastructure would be one way to quickly stand up a new loan program."
  • "These funds must flow to all small businesses in need, particularly those run by people of color, who have traditionally had less access to capital."

Between the lines: Neither the House's HEROES Act nor the latest version of Senate Republicans' HEALS Act include significant funding for small businesses besides the PPP extension.

The last word: "Tens of millions of Americans have already lost their jobs in this pandemic. ... By year end, the domino effect of lost jobs — as well as the lost services and lost products that small businesses provide — could be catastrophic."

Go deeper

Congress lacks urgency for more economic stimulus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the pandemic's few silver linings came in late March, when elected officials put aside partisan differences to quickly pass a massive, across-the-board economic stimulus. Six months later, we're back to the old normal — even though many remain desperate for assistance.

Driving the news: The Senate on Thursday rejected a so-called "skinny bill" championed by Republicans. It would have included a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, school funding, and virus-related liability protections for businesses.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 30,782,337 — Total deaths: 957,037— Total recoveries: 21,032,539Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,764,962 — Total deaths: 199,258 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  5. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

The positions of key GOP senators on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee by next week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just over six weeks out from Election Day.

The big picture: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." But Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) told Alaska Public Media, "I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election."