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Together with many of you, we’ve been working over the last few days to push Congress to create a large-scale grant program to fund small businesses’ core costs during this crisis. Last week, ILSR and more than a dozen small business groups put out a statement that called for: 
  • Grants — The government should provide grants to small, independent businesses affected by the crisis to meet immediate needs over the next 4 months, including payroll, health insurance, rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • Low- and no-interest loans  — The federal government should expand the availability of loan financing, and these loans should be interest-free, with no payments for a year.
  • The federal response should not exacerbate market concentration — Lawmakers should reject opportunism by politically powerful corporations and ensure that relief programs put money where it's actually needed – helping ordinary people whose incomes and livelihoods have come to a halt. 
On Sunday, Stacy published an article in the American Prospect that explained the stakes and described emerging momentum in Congress to address the crisis through grants:  

The Imminent Small-Business Collapse, and What Can be Done to Stop It  
"If large numbers of small businesses go under, that would send millions of people to the unemployment lines and wipe out any hope of staving off a deep economic depression.... As more people have begun to reckon with what’s under way... some members on both sides of the aisle have put forward proposals to provide small businesses with sizable grants."

One of the strongest proposals came from Senators Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, and Chris Van Hollen. Their Main Street Emergency Grant Program would provide rapid-response grants to cover payroll, rent, and other fixed costs. 

Right now, legislation being negotiated in the Senate does include a grant program for small businesses; details are in flux. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it also includes massive no-strings-attached giveaways to big corporations. These handouts are unnecessary and will further tilt the economy in favor of big business. 

We encourage you to keep contacting your members of Congress, and to post on social media tagging them (find their handles here):
Congress needs to help small businesses and ordinary people get through this crisis. We need grants to meet payroll, not slush funds for big corporations. @SpeakerPelosi @senatemajldr @SenSchumer #WhatWeNeed 

At the same time, we're continuing to build out resources to help local businesses and communities respond, including a new piece from Kennedy on What Small Businesses Can Do to Support Their Communities & Reach Their Customers.

In solidarity, 
Stacy, Zach, Sue, Ron, and Kennedy

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