Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who represents Homewood and Flossmoor in Congress, hosted a conference call on Monday, March 23, with local small business owners and chamber of commerce representatives.
It was the first in a series of discussions on the economic and community impacts of the coronavirus Rep. Kelly will be hosting. Upcoming calls will include members of the hospitality industry, non-profit leaders, manufacturers and local elected leaders.
“The purpose of the call was to hear firsthand what my local small business owners and independent contractors need from Congress,” Kelly said. “I plan to pass on their concerns and ideas to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We are doing everything we possibly can to make sure businesses not only survive, but thrive once we get past the virus.”
On the call, they discussed the immediate impacts and ways to maintain operations while limiting person-to-person contact. Further, they discussed what aid, support and resources are already available as a result of the two emergency aid packages passed by the House of Representatives, and if the delivery of those resources is adaptable, prompt and effective.
Some of the issues and questions that were raised include:
- There is no infrastructure in place to assist small businesses obtain the aid that will be available as a result of the two stimulus bills recently passed by Congress.
- Could Congress appropriate funds to chambers since they serve as “lifelines of support” for small businesses? Currently, most chambers do not have the staff or funding to assist in such a major undertaking.
- Can Congress specifically address the unique needs and concerns of independent contactors in the third federal stimulus package?
- Can Congress implement more instantaneous relief efforts to help small businesses? Long-term relief such as tax credits will not help businesses in the short run.
The group also discussed what additional steps are necessary to support families, local businesses and our communities. Kelly, a member of the influential Steering and Policy Committee, which sets the policy direction of the Democratic Caucus, pledged to work toward incorporating these ideas into forthcoming legislation.