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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

Nov 10, 2020 - Technology

Facebook says 6% of the content its users see is political

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook Tuesday said that political content makes up only about 6% of what users actually see on its platform.

Why it matters: The new number is meant to provide context for reports that have focused on the viral popularity of conservative political content on Facebook.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker