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Photo: Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

A new study by economists at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University and the University of Chicago projects that more than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The mass devastation to small businesses comes despite efforts by the federal government to keep them afloat as large swathes of the economy have been forced to close as a result of the pandemic.

  • Congress has approved over $700 billion in relief funds for small businesses, and approximately 4.2 million have received loans from the Small Business Administration, per the Post.
  • Many small business owners have considered the Paycheck Protection Program as well, but worry about not being able to meet the staffing levels required by the law.

Details: The study projects that at least 2% of American small businesses are gone for good.

  • The damage has been especially severe for certain sectors like the restaurant industry, which has seen 3% of restaurants permanently go out of business, according to the National Restaurant Association.
  • 34% of small businesses are paying reduced rent or postponing payment, according to the Post.

Go deeper

American Express to buy Kabbage

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

American Express on Monday announced an agreement to acquire online small-business lender Kabbage for an undisclosed amount.

Why it matters: Kabbage is one of the fintech companies that helped small businesses tap into the Paycheck Protection Program despite furloughing hundreds of workers at the beginning of the pandemic.

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.