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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has set up this live blog to provide important news and updates related to the coronavirus outbreak specifically for the business community. Check back daily for updates and find the latest guidance and resources on our Coronavirus homepage.
Tuesday, August 4 | 12:00 P.M.
Chamber Poll Shows Coronavirus Pandemic Hits Minority-Owned Small Businesses Disproportionately Hard
Minority-owned small businesses have been hit harder by the pandemic and corresponding economic crisis, according to a new special report released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife.
- Two in three (66%) minority small businesses are concerned about having to permanently close their business versus 57% for non-minority small businesses.
- Two-thirds (66%) of all small businesses acknowledge that minority-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- The number of small businesses believing minority-owned small businesses face more challenges than non-minority-owned ones increased from 52% in January to 69% in July.
"The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on minority-owned small businesses is further evidence of systemic inequalities in our country. Even more concerning, the pandemic could exacerbate and elongate the economic struggles already facing minority-owned businesses and families," said Suzanne Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber.
Today, the Chamber sent a letter to Congress endorsing more than a dozen bills to close inequality gaps. And Rick Wade, U.S. Chamber Vice president of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, discussed the report’s finding with Yahoo! Finance.
Thursday, July 30 | 9:30 A.M.
U.S. Economy Shrinks in Second Quarter, 1.43 Million Americans File Jobless Claims
The Commerce Department said today that the U.S. economy shrank at a 32.9% annualized pace between April and June as the coronavirus slammed businesses and consumers. This marks the nation's worst quarterly contraction on record. Read more in Politico.
U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley today issued the following statement on the decline:
“The staggering news of the historic decline of the gross domestic product in the second quarter should shock us all. This jarring news should compel Congress to move swiftly to provide targeted and temporary assistance to unemployed Americans, employers, and state and local governments, and liability protections for businesses who follow public health guidelines.
“While economic activity rebounded in May and June, that growth is now being suppressed by a surge of coronavirus cases. That has undermined economic activity, consumer confidence, and the small business recovery. The stakes could not be higher, and the time to act is now. We strongly urge Republicans and Democrats to come together now and enact the relief American workers, families, and employers need.”
Separately, the Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless benefits rose to 1.43 million last week. New filings had been slowing into mid-July, but surged again due to many states reversing their reopening plans.
The U.S. Chamber's unemployment claims interactive map is tracking the four-week continuing claims average in each state.
Wednesday, July 29 | 8:00 A.M.
Small Business Recovery Loses Steam Amid ‘Second Wave’ Concerns, New Poll Shows
Today the U.S. Chamber released its latest Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll showing that after retreating from record lows earlier this spring, key measures like perceived business health and cash flow have stalled. And, the number of small business owners reporting concern around reopening guidance has increased.
Here are some key takeaways:
- 78% of small business owners remain concerned about the impact of coronavirus with two-thirds (65%) concerned about having to close again, or stay closed, if there is a second wave of COVID-19.
- 7 in 10 small businesses report adjusting business operations to prepare for a second wave of Covid-19 and subsequent business interruptions.
- Small businesses reporting good overall health (55%) is down 14 percentage points from the end of 2019.
- 86% of small businesses report that they have fully or partially reopened since the pandemic began and the number of fully open businesses climbed 11 percentage points from May.
- 6 out of 10 small businesses report maintaining the same size staff over the last year (down from 67% in May) and 20% report increasing staff over the same period (up from 13% in May)
Tuesday, July 28 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley on Bloomberg Radio: “The Most Important Thing is that We Get This Done Right”
U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio today by host David Westin on where Congress may be able to strike a deal on Phase 4 legislation.
“When you think through the compromises necessary to produce a bill there are elements between those two proposals to get us to the kind of targeted approach that we need to see us safely through the next few months and into the next year,” Bradley said.
On unemployment insurance, he added: “When Congress adopted the $600 they did it because they didn’t have time to work out the formula approach to tie benefits more closely to what an individual earned. We now have the time to do that, and we should do that.”
On funding for state and local governments: “The Senate proposal doesn’t provide any additional resources, but additional resources are needed,” Bradley said. “The House proposal on the other hand, in some instances gives some states more money than their entire general fund budget for the year. That’s not very targeted; that’s not very smart. So, we can meet in the middle, which will be a lot less expensive than a trillion dollars.”
Monday, July 27 | 6:15 P.M.
Chamber Calls on Congress to Provide Temporary and Targeted Coronavirus Relief
The Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley today issued the following statement on the introduction of legislation in the Senate to advance the next package of coronavirus economic relief.
“The Chamber thanks Leader McConnell for putting forward the Senate Republican proposal and especially for the focus on liability protections for businesses who follow public health guidelines. To support our economy, Congress must also provide targeted and temporary assistance to unemployed Americans, employers, and state and local governments. The clock is ticking and there is no time for the traditional Washington games; we urge Republicans and Democrats to come together now and enact the relief American workers, families, and employers need.”
On July 16, the Chamber sent a detailed letter on key provisions to include in the legislative package.
Monday, July 27 | 2:00 P.M.
Most Parents Feel Their Current Childcare Arrangement is Unsustainable
A report released today by the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce revealed that the majority of parents feel their provisional childcare arrangement is unsustainable. More than one in five are unsure whether they will fully return to work.
COVID-19 has altered the work environment of nearly 90% of working parents and caused two-thirds to adjust their childcare arrangements. Sixty percent of working parents say they will need to change their arrangement within the year, and 35% will need to change within the next three months.
Last week the U.S. Chamber sent a letter outlining Phase IV legislation priorities. We asked Congress to enact targeted and temporary measures that address five key areas – one being financial support for childcare and K-12 schools for a safe reopening. To learn more about the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s work on early childhood education click here.
Wednesday, July 22 | 10:30 A.M.
U.S. Chamber Unveils Interactive Map of Vaccine Trials Across the Country
On Tuesday, the Chamber's Global Innovatoin Policy Center (GIPC) unveiled an interactive map tracking the hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine trials taking place across the country, including advanced Stage 3 clinical trials that could put us on pace for a vaccine by the end of the year.
To date, scientists have conducted clinical trials of potential COVID-19 solutions in all 50 states, across approximately 85% of congressional districts. Check out the interactive map to learn more about the COVID-19 research going on in your community.
Plus, each week the U.S. Chamber spotlights companies on the front-line search for effective treatments and vaccines to combat COVID-19. To access the entire catalog of articles, visit GIPC's Discover & Deliver page.
Thursday, July 16 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley on CNBC: We Need Timely, Targeted, Temporary Assistance From Washington
The Chamber's Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley was on CNBC’s The Exchange with host Tyler Mathisen on Thursday to discuss the Chamber’s framework for an upcoming phase 4 relief bill.
"One of the things that we've had the benefit of doing over the last several months is talking to businesses across all sizes and all industries throughout the country and learning exactly what's needed, Bradley said. "I think they will get it done and I think we'll bridge the partisan differences that we simply can't afford to become an empediment to progress."
Bradley also outlined the Chamber's take on unemployment benefits: "Under the current policy the average unemployed person makes 134% of what they made working. If we got rid of it entirely, they would make 45% of what they earned working. We think the sweet spot is about 90%... It's going to make sure that they can pay the bills, but it also makes sure that we get them back into the workforce."
Click here to watch the full clip.
Thursday, July 16 | 3:00 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Lays Out Phase 4 Coronavirus Relief Priorities
Today U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue sent a letter to congressional leaders calling for additional support for individuals, families, and employers as the pandemic continues.
“We have not yet beaten the coronavirus or achieved the economic recovery that we all desire,” Donohue wrote. "While it is critical that Congress provide meaningful assistance to the unemployed, employers that continue to be negatively impacted by social distancing requirements, and state and local governments, it is also critical that we avoid counterproductive policies that will delay economic recovery or diminish long-term growth.”
The Chamber's priorities address the following five key areas. Click here to read the full release.
- Liability protection against unwarranted lawsuits
- Support for small and midsize employers
- Support for childcare and K-12 schools
- Unemployment and job training
- State and local assistance
On a call with reporters on Thursday, the Chamber's Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley discussed the above priorities. Click the links below to read coverage of today's call:
- What the Chamber Wants in the Next Relief Bill (Politico)
- As Lawsuits Surge, Liability Reform Remains Top GOP Priority (The Washington Examiner)
Thursday, July 16 | 11:00 A.M.
New Weekly Unemployment Claims Remain Over 1 Million
As coronavirus cases surge in many parts of the country, 1.3 million new claims for state unemployment benefits were filed last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Layoffs in places like Florida, Georgia and California rose by tens of thousands of people. Read more in Politico.
Although weekly claims have gone down from late March and early April, when they twice topped six million, they have exceeded one million for 17 weeks.
The Chamber’s unemployment claims map is tracking the continuing claims average in each state. It's updated every Thursday with new data from the Labor Department.
Wednesday, July 15 | 11:00 A.M.
Chamber's Bradley Testifies Before House Financial Services Committee
The Chamber's Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley testified yesterday before the House Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets. Bradley outlined two important challenges that country faces: Beating the pandemic and minimizing its economic fallout, and beginning the long work of creating a more level playing field that ensures greater equality of opportunity for all Americans.
"There is not a single unemployed American or struggling business that is responsible for this pandemic. Which is why I urge you to continue with the bipartisan approach Congress has taken supporting unemployed Americans and their employers as they weather what we all hope will be a short downturn," Bradley said during the testimony.
Click here for full remarks and the webcast video.
Thursday, July 9 | 3:00 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Foundation Joins American Express to Support the Black Small Business Community
Coming on the heels of the U.S. Chamber's National Summit on Equality of Opportunity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is partnering with American Express on a new initiative that is part of the company’s recently announced $200 million Global Shop Small Campaign.
The Black community and Black-owned small businesses in particular have faced some of the most dire consequences throughout the pandemic and the ensuing economic and social crises. Through this partnership, the U.S. Chamber Foundation, American Express, and the nation’s leading Black chambers of commerce will work together to provide grants to support the Black business community to help them weather these immediate crises, and to contribute to their long-term economic success.
American Express also announed a $10 million pledge over the next four years to fund a the U.S. Chamber Foundation's Save Small Business Fund which will provide grants to U.S. Black-owned small businesses to assist in their recovery and address the challenges they face due to racial and social inequalities.
Tuesday, July 7 | 5:30 P.M.
Chamber's Clark on Fox Business: "We Want To Shut Down This Virus and Reopen the Economy"
Chamber President Suzanne Clark was interviewed on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. to discuss the need for national guidance on mask-wearing to fight the pandemic.
“At the moment we have a hodge-podge of local and state ordinances about masks, and employers aren’t sure what to do,” said Clark. “We need to get some national guidance on what the data says, what health experts say we need to do about mask-wearing so that we stop this hodge-podge and get to some public safety and consumer confidence levels that get the economy open again.”
Clark emphasized that for economic recovery we must take steps to stop the spread of the virus, saying, “We want to shut down this virus and reopen the economy. And what public health experts say is the fastest way to do both is for all of us to wear a mask.”
Last week, the U.S. Chamber, along with other business associations, sent a letter to the President, the Vice President, and the National Governors Association asking them to work together on national guidance on mask-wearing.
On Tuesday the Chamber’s Neil Bradley was interviewed on Yahoo Finance on the need for a national mask standard in the midst of COVID-19.
Monday, July 6 | 3:30 P.M.
Application Window Extended for Paycheck Protection Program
President Donald Trump on Saturday signed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) into law, after House lawmakers unanimously passed the extension less than a day after the program expired. The PPP will now remain open to applications through August 8. Read more in CNN.
In a surprising move late Tuesday evening, the Senate passed legislation that would keep the government's massive small business rescue program alive just as it was set to close down within hours with $130 billion left unspent.
GOP lawmakers said Tuesday they are starting to draft what may be included the next coronavirus relief package, although Republicans aren't expected to begin formally negotiating the fifth bill until they return from a two-week break on July 20. The House passed a nearly $3 trillion package in mid-May but that bill has been declared “dead on arrival” in the GOP-controlled Senate. Read more in The Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the bill's focus will be on child care, education, and health care, and will inlcude liability protections for businesses.
Thursday, July 2 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber Calls on President, VP, and Governors to Lead on Face Coverings
The U.S. Chamber today, along with Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, and other business groups, sent a letter to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Governors Hogan and Cuomo urging the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the National Governors Association to work together on guidelines for manadatory mask requirements in public spaces.
The letter reads in part: "To be clear, the decision to impose face covering requirements should remain at the state or local level but be informed by clear and consistent guidance based on data. We believe that a national mask standard, implemented locally, offers the surest way to protect public health and promote economic recovery."
Read the full letter here, and click the links below for media coverage.
- Top Business Leaders Urge White House to Develop Mandatory Mask Guidelines (Axios)
- Chamber of Commerce, Trade Groups Call for National Standard on Requiring Masks (The Hill)
- Trade Groups Push Trump for Guidelines on Mask Requirements (Bloomberg)
- Business Leaders Call for National Standards on Face Mask Regulations (Newsweek)
Tuesday, June 30 | 5:30 P.M.
Powell and Mnuchin Pledge Additional Covid-19 Relief
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee on implementation of the C.A.R.E.S. Act, and pledged to consider additional relief to prevent lasting damage to labor markets and businesses.
Secretary Mnuchin said the administration wanted any additional relief to be “targeted to certain industries that have been especially hard-hit by the pandemic.”
Chairman Powell said hiring, spending and other economic activity had rebounded earlier than central bank officials had anticipated in the spring but said the increase in commerce that entails large gatherings or other close personal contact carried new risks.
Click here for the full video of the hearing.
Monday, June 29 | 1:30 P.M.
June 30 is the Deadline for Businesses to Apply for PPP Loans
The deadline for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to approve applications for the Paycheck Protection Program loans is tomorrow. Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act in early June which made the following adjustments to the PPP guidelines for loan forgiveness. Read more in Forbes.
- The amount of the loan that must be spent on payroll went from 75% to 60%
- The window businesses have to use the funds extended from 8 weeks to 24 weeks from loan origination date
- The deadline to rehire workers is pushed back to December 31, 2020
- There are now some additional excpetions for having a reduced headcount that would not impact your loan forgiveness
- In the event loans are not forgiven, the repayment deadline was extended from two years to five years
Tuesday, June 23 | 10:00 A.M.
Chamber Study Reveals Impact of Covid-19 on the Commercial Construction Industry
The Chamber today released the Q2 findings for its USG + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index and results show that while contractors’ outlook took a hit during the pandemic, the industry is poised for recovery. Survey results were largely collected in the month of April, at the height of shutdown restrictions.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- In April, 87% of contractors reported they were experiencing delays due to the coronavirus outbreak, with 73% expecting delays to continue into the fall.
- Despite widespread shutdowns from the pandemic, 3 in 4 contractors say they have at least moderate or high confidence in the market’s ability to provide sufficient new business in the next year.
- More than 8 in 10 say they expect their revenue to increase or remain about the same in the next year.
- 1 in 3 contractors plan to hire more workers in the next six months, while nearly half (48%) believe their workforce will stay the same.
- 75% said that worker health and safety is a top concern for their business, followed by fewer projects (48%).
Join the U.S. Chamber on Wednesday, June 24 at 11 AM EST for a virtual panel discussion on Covid-19’s impact on the construction industry, where USG Corporation CEO Chris Griffin, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Economist Curtis Dubay, and Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry CEO Michael Stark will discuss these survey findings and more. Register here.
Thursday, June 11 | 11:30 A.M.
Workers Filed Another 1.5 Million Unemployment Claims
New unemployment claims continue to come in with more than 1.5 million Americans filing jobless claims last week. California and Georgia, one of the first states to reopen its economy in April, reported the largest number of claims last week. Nearly 46 million new applications for unemployment aid in a little over three months. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber’s interactive unemployment claims map is tracking which states have been the most severely impacted. All 50 states have seen at least 10% of their workforce file unemployment claims since the start of March, and in all but 10 states, that number has reached at least 20%. In 11 states, the number has eclipsed one-third.
Monday, June 15 | 4:00 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Applauds Federal Reserve for Ensuring Businesses Receive Help Through Main Street Lending Program
The Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) Executive Vice President Thomas Quaadman issued the following statement today after the Federal Reserve announced they have opened the Main Street Lending Program for lender registration:
“The Main Street Lending Program is a lifeline for businesses that have been disrupted by the health and economic consequences of COVID-19. We applaud the Federal Reserve for taking action today that will continue the process of ensuring businesses of all sizes – including medium and large businesses – have access to the credit they need during this pandemic. This will help businesses keep workers employed and help the economy recover quicker.
“We encourage the Federal Reserve to proactively work with lenders and borrowers that choose to participate in the Main Street Lending Program to help address any unforeseen challenges, as well as continue to closely monitor and reassess terms to ensure they provide affordable credit to businesses.”
Thursday, June 11 | 10:00 A.M.
Unemployment Claims Climb By 1.5 Million, Despite Jobs Gains in May
Americans filed 1.5 million unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, driving total jobless claims over the past 12 weeks to more than 43 million amid the coronavirus pandemic and corresponding economic fallout.
Requests are coming in despite Americans going back to work. The Labor Department reported last week that 2.5 million jobs were added to the economy in May. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber’s interactive unemployment claims map is tracking which states have been the most severely impacted. Georgia is the first state to see its ratio of unemployment claims to its February workforce eclipse 50%.
Wednesday, June 10 | 5:00 P.M.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Mentions Chamber Poll in Senate Testimony
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza testified today before the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship in a hearing focused on implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act.
In his remarks, Secretary Mnuchin referenced the U.S. Chamber’s June findings on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on small businesses.
“Several other indicators show that we are well-positioned for a strong, phased reopening of our country. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced last week that 79% of small businesses are at least partially open, with half of the businesses that remain closed planning to reopen very soon,” Mnuchin said.
Wednesday, June 10 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley: 'We Can Take a Pause and Assess Exactly What's Needed'
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined host David Westin on Bloomberg Radio on Wednesday to discuss the timing of a Phase 4 coronavirus relief package from Congress and what business want to see included.
“Assistance is now moving throughout the economy, businesses are reopening, and businesses are bringing employees back. We know we have a long way to go but at this moment we can take a pause and assess exactly what's needed, which will allow us to have a much more targeted approach to helping the economy recovery more quickly,” Bradley said.
On providing aid to state and local governments, Bradley added: “We know there is a one-time loss in revenue for state and local governments, and addressing that one-time loss in revenue makes sense. The last thing we want to do is not do summer road construction going forward because we lost three month’s worth of gas tax revenue."
Tuesday, June 9 | 11:30 A.M.
Federal Reserve Expands Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve announced Monday that it has changed the terms of its Main Street Lending Facility to allow for greater participation. The Federal Reserve is lowering the minimum loan amount by half to $250,000 and raising the maximum amount that can be borrowed to up to $300 million from the previous $200 million. It is also expanding the loan terms to five years.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the program was days away from making its first loan and was revamping provisions based on feedback received from thousands of sources.
Read more on CNBC.
Friday, June 5 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Comments on May Unemployment Figures
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May from a peak of 14.7% in April — surprising economists who had widely expected the rate to jump to about 20% given that millions of people have applied for unemployment benefits in recent weeks. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber's Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley released the following statement in response to the unemployment figures.
"Today’s jobs report is certainly welcome news and a clear sign that the reopening and recovery is underway. It is also a reminder that the recovery is likely to be uneven across industries and communities. It is noteworthy that while overall unemployment fell, it did not fall for African Americans.
“If Black Americans had the same participation and unemployment rate as white Americans, there would be 1.3 million more African Americans in jobs today. This is not new. Before the pandemic a growing economy produced record low unemployment, but even then, if participation and unemployment rates would have been the same for Black and white workers, there would have been 842,500 more African Americans in jobs. The U.S. Chamber’s June 25th Summit on Inequality of Opportunity and Building Economic Equity will work to develop actionable solutions to close this gap.”
Thursday, June 4 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber Applauds Senate Passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
The Chamber's Vice President of Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan released the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds this evening’s Senate passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act that will help Main Street’s efforts to re-open, providing flexibility for almost 4.5 million small businesses that have received PPP loans administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“New data from the MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Coronavirus Poll show that while 8 of 10 small businesses are in the process of re-opening, there is an increasing percentage (55%) who believe it will take more than 6-months to be fully operational. That is up from 50% in April and 46% in March. Congress deserves credit for removing barriers that could slow recovery further. We urge the President to sign the legislation quickly and for SBA and Treasury to immediately provide guidance to small businesses on how they qualify for loan forgiveness under the new law.”
Read more about the new changes in in Roll Call.
Thursday, June 4 | 11:30 A.M.
Another 1.9 Million Americans File Unemployment Claims
Americans filed 1.9 million unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, driving total jobless claims over the past 11 weeks to around 42 million amid the coronavirus pandemic and corresponding economic fallout. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber’s interactive unemployment claims map is tracking which states have been the most severely impacted. In 21 states, more than one in four workers have now submitted an unemployment claim.
Wednesday, June 3 | 11:30 A.M.
Nearly 8 in 10 Small Businesses Now Fully or Partially Open, New Chamber Poll Shows
The Chamber on Wednesday released the latest findings from its third monthly Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll which reveals that small business owners are feeling slightly more optimistic in their economic outlook than in previous months. Here are some key findings:
- Nearly 8 in 10 small businesses are either fully (41%) or partially (38%) open.
- 55% of small businesses believe it will take 6-12 months before the business climate returns to normal, up from 50% last month and 46% two months ago.
- 43% of small business owners say they are “very concerned” about the impact of COVID-19 on their business, down 10 percentage points from a month ago, and down 15 points from two months ago.
- Looking ahead, the primary concerns of small business owners are: financial hardships due to prolonged closures (71%), low business demand (67%), and closures related to a second wave (66%).
On a call with reporters on Wednesday, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said that while it’s good news that 8 in 10 businesses are open, significant challenges lie ahead.
“How quickly we can get small businesses back to the position they were before COVID is really going to be dependent on the public policy decisions that are made by the federal government and by state governments,” Bradley said. “If we get this right, we can get small businesses back to normal, and we can get the unemployed back to work quickly. If we get this wrong, we risk extending this economic downturn.”
Click here to read the press release on the survey findings.
Tuesday, June 2 | 2:45 P.M.
Chamber’s Quaadman Testifies Before the Senate Banking Committee
The Chamber’s Executive Vice President for the Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness Tom Quaadman testified on Tuesday in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during a hearing on the implementation of the CARES Act. Quaadman presented evidence on how critical the Federal Reserve's newly created lending facilities are for the nation’s economic recovery and expressed recommendations for their continued oversight.
“The ultimate goal of policymakers should be to ensure that the credit provided under the CARES Act flows to the businesses and households that most need it, while rooting out any waste, fraud, and abuse that would undermine or impede economic recovery,” Quaadman said.
“While American businesses have been impacted as never before by the pandemic, make no mistake that American businesses will be the linchpin in our road to recovery. Whether it is reorienting assembly lines to produce personal protective equipment, taking extraordinary measures to help employees or devastated communities, or working their hardest to find a vaccine and treatment for the coronavirus, businesses have stepped up and will continue to do everything in their power to meet this national challenge.”
Thursday, May 28 | 10:30 A.M.
2.1 Million New Unemployment Claims Filed Last Week
The Department of Labor on Thursday reported that workers filed 2.1 million new unemployment claims last week. The latest report brings the 10-week total of Americans seeking aid to 40.8 million, and suggests that about a quarter of the U.S. workforce has lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more in Politico.
The Chamber’s interactive unemployment claims map is tracking which states have been the most severely impacted. In 33 states more than 20% of workers have now filed a claim. Ten states have now eclipsed the 30% mark.
Wednesday, May 27 | 2:30 P.M.
Chamber Calls for Liability Protection for Businesses as Fear of Lawsuits Continue to Grow
The Chamber on Wednesday joined over 200 diverse trade associations and other groups calling for Congress to provide temporary and targeted liability relief legislation. This comes after the Chamber was also part of a broad group of over 50 state and local chambers who sent a letter last week on this important issue. There is broad public support as well as strong support across the political spectrum for liability protections.
American businesses are working hard to take measures to protect their employees and customers amid the COVID-19 crisis, however the risk of opportunistic lawsuits poses a significant barrier in their ability to bounce back from the economic crisis. As businesses start to reopen, employers simply want to know that if they take reasonable steps to follow public health guidelines, they will be protected against needless lawsuits.
“During times of past crises, Congress has passed liability protections on a bipartisan basis, and must do so again,” said Harold Kim, President, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “The U.S. Chamber and the Institute for Legal Reform are leading this coalition to urge lawmakers to protect businesses against the acute economic threat of lawsuits.”
Click here to read the full release.
Tuesday, May 26 | 1:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Sullivan: 'It’s Getting a Little Better,' But Small Businesses Need Customers and Cash
The Chamber’s Vice President for Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan appeared on CNN on Saturday to talk about what the Chamber is hearing from small businesses right now.
“Over the past eight weeks we have fielded calls from small businesses all over America who are desperate for cash,” Sullivan said. “Right now we have 50 states that are in some process of reopening, and that’s key to turning that around, so customers can come in, shop safely, and build those revenues back up at small businesses."
In addition to cash and the return of customers, Sullivan said small businesses want certainty.
“They want to know that if they take the steps necessary to protect their employees, and to protect their customers, that they’re going to be shielded from lawsuits, and that they’re going to continue to be able to hire back and get the economy going again,” Sullivan said.
Click here for the Chamber’s set of online digital resources to help small businesses reopen.
Friday, May 22 | 11:30 A.M.
Chamber’s Clark on Fox Business Says Liability Protections Are Needed Quickly
Chamber President Suzanne Clark joined Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network Friday to discuss the urgency behind businesses needing liability protections as the economy reopens.
“Government leaders are really starting to understand how important this is to jump-starting the economy and there's precedent for it,” Clark said. “We saw it after Y2K, and after 9/11, where Congress came together in a bipartisan way to provide liability protection and they can do it again.”
Clark added: “We have seen Republican and Democratic governors in states like Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, put liability protection in place in a way that's really helped those states get moving.”
Varney asked Clark what can be done about lawsuits that have already been filed, noting that McDonald’s faces several lawsuits already.
“That’s why the U.S. Chamber wants to see liability protection enacted quickly,” Clark said. “Once these cases are in the morass of the court system, it gets even more complicated.” Clark noted a statistic from a South Carolina Chamber poll, which found that 64% of small business owners say liability protection is the biggest obstacle to reopening.
Thursday, May 21 | 5:00 P.M.
Experts Discuss What Offices Will Look Like in a Social Distancing Era
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Thursday talked with industry experts about how business can create healthy environments for their employees and customers. In the latest episode of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series Clark was joined by panelists:
- Dr. Lindsey Leininger, Professor at Dartmouth University and one of the scientists hosting "Dear Pandemic" on Facebook
- Jeroen Lokerse, head of Cushman & Wakefield in the Netherlands and creator of the "Six Feet Office" plan
- Professor Joseph Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University
The panelists discussed best practices for workplace social distancing, the role that indoor environments play in spreading the virus, and where to look for guidance on the best ways to reduce the risk of infection in offices, shops, and factories.
“Any business, any size, any budget, can come up with a strategy to reduce risk in your building,” said Allen. “Healthy buildings are not confined to the shiny new skyscrapers in New York City. It can be, and has to be, every building.”
Thursday, May 21 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley on Bloomberg Radio: "We're Not Asking For Immunity"
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined host David Westin Thursday to discuss lawmakers' progress on the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.
“We’re really in a crucial moment right now and in the coming weeks we are going to have to bridge the divides between the House and the Senate, and Republicans and Democrats, to get a Phase 4 bill done,” Bradley said. “The good news is I think the differences are bridgeable, they’re vast but they are bridgeable.”
On the fight over liability protections, Bradley said: “I do believe there will be a safe harbor. It won’t be immunity, and in fact we’re not asking for immunity. We believe that there ought to be a good faith safe harbor here.”
Thursday, May 21 | 11:30 A.M.
Chamber’s Bradley: 'Phase 4' Is An Opportunity To Get Policies Right
On a call with reporters Thursday, Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley outlined the Chamber’s vision for a "Phase 4" coronavirus relief package, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill begin to draft legislation.
“This moment in time gives us an opportunity to make sure that we get the policies in 'Phase 4' right,” said Bradley. “It will help determine how many of the unemployed we can get back to work, how many businesses will remain open, and what the outlook is for those businesses.”
Key Phase 4 policy priorities for the Chamber include:
- Liability relief to provide businesses a safe harbor from unwarranted lawsuits.
- Extending a bridge to businesses that will be the last to reopen, allowing them to operate at something other than a loss.
- Helping individuals that have no job to return to get skills training to move to new jobs that are being created in their area.
- Encouraging Congress to take a more detailed look at funding for state and local governments, focusing on meeting budget needs that truly exist.
“Legislative solutions, or even executive actions, should be timely, they should be targeted, and they should be temporary,” said Harold Kim, the Chamber’s President of the Institute for Legal Reform.
Kim added that liability relief policies “should draw from bipartisan ideas and precedents in the past—whether it was was in the wake of 9/11 or to the Y2K Act in 1999,” which did have bipartisan support and provided sensible solutions to “remove the cloud of liability that could really hamper any economic restart.”
On Wednesday the Chamber sent a letter to Congress urging passage of liability relief legislation.
Click the links below to read press coverage:
- Chamber of Commerce Expects Next Coronavirus Relief Bill By July 4 (The Hill)
- US Chamber Expects Another COVID-19 Relief Bill Before July 4 (Roll Call)
- Chamber of Commerce Calls For Coronavirus Liability Protections In Next Relief Bill (The Washington Examiner)
- Are Businesses In Danger of Coronavirus Lawsuits As They Reopen? (CNBC)
Thursday, May 21 | 10:00 A.M.
2.4 Million More Americans File Jobless Claims
The Department of Labor reported Thursday that another 2.4 million workers filed new jobless claims last week, continuing the pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, even as states begin to reopen their economies. A total of 38.6 million workers have now applied for unemployment assistance over the past nine weeks. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber’s interactive map is tracking which states have been the most severely impacted. Nine states have now eclipsed 30%, and Georgia is the first state to see 40% of its workforce file jobless claims.
New analysis produced by the U.S. Chamber also explores five of the most heavily affected industries—food, travel, and events; services; retail; education; and medical providers. In total, these five industries represent 80% of America’s job losses in April.
Wednesday, May 20 | 12:00 P.M.
Chamber Releases New Guide on How to Get PPP Loans Forgiven
The Chamber on Wednesday released a new guide to walk business owners through the steps and requirements needed to get Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans forgiven.
PPP loans may be forgiven if borrowers use the funds to maintain their payrolls and pay other specified expenses. Download this step-by-step guide to calculate your loan forgiveness amount, navigate record-keeping requirements, and determine repayment terms on amounts not forgiven.
The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration recently released the application form and instructions for loan forgiveness. Find forgiveness forms, instructions, and worksheets here.
Friday, May 15 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Outlines Likely Changes to PPP Funding Rules
During Friday’s episode of the weekly Inc. Magazine and the U.S. Chamber National Small Business Town Hall, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley reviewed proposed changes to the Paycheck Protection Program outlined in the House bill introduced this week by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“There’s a good chance at least some of the parameters around loan forgiveness will be changed. One of the one’s that almost certain to be changed is the requirement that 75% of your expenses going toward loan forgiveness be tied to payroll," Bradley said. “There’s bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill that that rule imposed by the Treasury is a bad rule and that’s likely to get repealed.”
Bradley added: “The Senate is very focused on a safe harbor for employers against litigation... if you are tring to follow the public health guidelines, you have a safe harbor against being sued."
For more key takeaways and a video of the event click here.
Friday, May 15 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley on NPR: Regulatory Approach Not Practical In Protecting Public Health
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley was interviewed on NPR today to discuss why having a "safe harbor" for businesses from COVID-19 litigation is needed.
“We’re trying to adopt public health and safety measures across eight million business establishments, nonprofits, and schools, across the entire country. It would be difficult to have a strict regulatory approach. We at the U.S. Chamber would be supportive of better guidance,” Bradley said.
“We will learn more every day about this virus, and how we can help stop it, and so the guidance ought to evolve and ought to be improved as we learn more. But that’s a far different cry than a strict regulatory approach, which frankly, wouldn’t be practical in protecting public health.”
To watch the full interview click here.
Thursday, May 14 | 9:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark Discusses What's To Come For Restaurants, Sports and Theaters
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Thursday talked with industry experts about how high-density events and spaces, such as movie theaters, restaurants, and sports leagues, are planning for reopening. In the latest episode of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series Clark was joined by panelists:
- Michael Kaufman, Partner, Astor Group; and Former Chairman, National Restaurant Association
- Rick Roman, Owner, Roman Theatre Management
- Vice Admiral (Ret.) Raquel Bono, Director, Washington State COVID-19 Health System Response Management; and Former Director, Defense Health Agency
The panelists discussed what to expect the next time you eat at a restaurant, how social distancing will change choosing seats and grabbing popcorn at movie theaters, and how hard-hit Washington is approaching the reopening process.
Vice Admiral Bono said the biggest thing she is recommending to businesses is "decreasing the number of people in certain closed spaces, and making sure that if there are going to be people in your establishment for any length of time, that they're at least six feet apart from each other."
"You have to communicate and educate the public on how the theater is safe now. We are going to film what it's like to come to the theater and do a walkthrough," Roman said about reopening his movie theater. "It'll go a long way in showing the consumer just what we're doing."
Click here to watch the full event.
Thursday, May 14 | 2:30 P.M.
Nearly 3 Million More Americans File Jobless Claims, Some States See 1 in 3 Out of Work
Workers filed nearly 3 million new unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, bringing total layoffs for the past two months to 36.5 million. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber’s interactive map is tracking how unemployment claims have risen in each state over the past eight weeks. Some states have been particularly hard-hit.
Kentucky is the first state to see more than 35% of the workforce file jobless claims. Georgia, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Michigan are all above 30%. Read more about the 10 states that have seen the highest share of their workforce file for unemployment here.
Thursday, May 14 | 2:00 P.M.
Chamber Launches New Digital Resources Center to Help Businesses Reopen Safely and Sustainably
The Chamber on Thursday launched a new digital resources center with tools and guidance to help employers reopen their businesses while keeping their employees and customers healthy and informed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Part of the U.S. Chamber’s Path Forward initiative, the resources center includes:
- Employee Screening Questionnaire: The six-question sample questionnaire is a consolidation of questions required or recommended by states' employee screening guidance as well as input from member companies participating in the Chamber’s Return to Work Task Force.
- Small Business Reopening Playbook: The new four-page guide includes seven steps to help small business reopen as restrictions are lifted across the country.
- Industry-Specific Guides: From restaurants and retailers to hair salons and gyms, the site includes eight sector-specific guides from some of the nation’s leading industry associations and government sources.
- State-Specific Health Guidelines: An interactive map and state-specific information to help businesses navigate different public health guidelines across state lines.
Click here to read the full release.
Thursday, May 14 | 11:00 A.M.
Chamber Small Business Council Member Talks PPP Loans in Congress
Small businesses across the country have tapped into emergency funding—including through the Paycheck Protection Program—to survive this pandemic. Although the program is an important lifeline, small businesses need more guidance on the rules around their loans.
Small Business Investor Alliance President Brett Palmer, a Chamber Small Business Council member, pushed for this guidance Wednesday during testimony before the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access.
“We certainly need the forgiveness rules laid out,” Palmer said. “Those are long overdue, and small businesses in many cases have gotten the PPP money, but they don't know what they're allowed to do.” Watch the video.
Wednesday, May 13 | 3:00 P.M.
Small Business Owners Use Cutting Edge Tools to Build Post-Pandemic Workplaces
Small business owners are being forced to think about how to keep their workplaces going in an era where virtual work may be the new normal. In today’s Workshop Wednesdays webinar, hosted by CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small business owner panelists shared their expertise on managing teams remotely and using tech tools to transform everyday work and stand out to customers.
CO— Executive Director for Content Strategy Jeanette Mulvey was joined by panelists:
- Annie Eaton, CEO, Futurus (Atlanta, GA)
- Kenny Nguyen, CEO and Co-Founder, ThreeSixtyEight (Baton Rouge, LA)
- Mobolaji Sokunbi, Head of Strategic Partnerships and the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Dell Small Business
"Crisis planning is going to be very important from here," says Nguyen. "CEOs and human resources have to be more jointly led than ever becuase this is not a temporary change, this is going to be a from-here-on-out change."
For key takeaways and a video of the event click here.
Friday, May 8 | 3:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Explains Recent Changes to Small Business Loan Programs
During Friday’s episode of the weekly Inc. Magazine and the U.S. Chamber National Small Business Town Hall, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley distilled what’s happening with a variety of rule changes for small business lending programs.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Paycheck Protection loan forgiveness: The Small Business Administation (SBA) said this week if a business laid off an employee and issues a written invitation to invite that employee back, and the employee declines the offer, the business won’t be penalized in their loan forgiveness calculation.
- Don’t count on a deadline extension on the PPP: Changing that rule would take an act of Congress, and although there’s interest, it’s not overwhelming interest yet.
- More likely: A change to the rule that 75% of the loan needs to be used on payroll. The Treasury or Congress could change that guideline more easily.
- SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program: It has stopped taking applications (except for agricultural entities) to work through a backlog, and the loan cap is now $150,000, not $2 million.
- Main Street Lending Program: It doesn’t have a start date yet, but loans made after April 24 that meet the criteria of the statute are eligible. Businesses could start the process today, Bradley said.
For more key takeaways and a video of the event click here.
Thursday, May 7 | 6:30 P.M.
Chamber's Clark: The U.S. Can Learn From Other Countries' Coronavirus Responses
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Thursday talked with experts from across the globe to learn how other countries are managing the health and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19. In the latest episode of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series Clark was joined by panelists:
- Ryan McMorrow, Reporter, China Corporate Tech, Financial Times
- Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chairman, World Medical Association
- Christopher Schroeder, Global Tech Investor; and Co-Founder, Next Billion Ventures
"[China] just had a five-day Labor Day holiday here and there were 115 million trips during that time period of people leaving their houses and going out, but that's still down 41% from last year," McMorrow said. "Things are on their way to getting back, but most people are very cautious."
Montgomery added: “We always have to reassess the situation... our knowledge is still very little and still changing at a tremendous pace."
Thursday, May 7 | 9:30 A.M.
Americans File 3.2 Million New Unemployment Claims
The Department of Labor reported Thursday that Americans filed 3.2 million new jobless claims last week, bringing the seven-week total to more than 33.5 million. Read more in Politico.
Use the Chamber’s interactive map to see just how quickly unemployment claims have risen in each state during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its estimate of the total unemployment in April as part of it’s monthly jobs report. Yesterday payroll company ADP released a report finding that private-sector employment decreased by 20.2 million from March to April.
Wednesday, May 6 | 6:00 P.M.
PPP Loan Is "A Life Saver" For Small Business Owner and Veteran
Co-founder and owner of Flags of Valor and U.S. Chamber Small Business Council member Joe Shamess joined Wednesday's White House press conference to share the story of his veteran-owned small business.
Shamess said that for his business, which creates veteran-made wooden American flags, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan he was approved for this week was "a life saver,” and "a game changer."
With the loan, Shamess was able to hire back four combat-injured employees he furloughed after the company lost two-thirds of their revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
“What we’ve experienced has been challenging, but there have also been people helping other people," Shamess said. "We saw the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the SBA, and our partners at Under Armour step in.”
Here are some other announcements from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany:
- 2.3 million loans have been processed, with an average loan amount of $76,000 dollars.
- McEnany said there are no plans to release further guidelines for businesses on reopening, but the phased approach plan the administration put out provides some recommendations for businesses.
Wednesday, May 6 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley on Bloomberg Radio: Small Businesses Are Quickly Finding Ways to Adapt
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Bloomberg Radio host David Westin on Wednesday to discuss the results from the Chamber’s latest Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll.
“The carnage on Main Street is real but small businesses, being the entrepreneurs they are, are quickly figuring out ways to adapt and try to survive until we get to a reopening,” Bradley said.
In the last two weeks 20% of small businesses moved to teleworking, and 17% moved retail operations online (up from 10% last month).
Bradley added that although small businesses are quickly finding ways to get products to consumers, they need financial assistance in the meantime. One-third (32%) of the small business population has applied, or tried to apply, for a PPP loan from the Small Business Administration.
“The facts on the ground should drive the policy proposals,” Bradley said regarding talks of upcoming legislation. “One of the things we're telling lawmakers is we should be paying attention to what's happening in the reopening and adjusting our policies to help businesses reopen and support those businesses that are reopening under conditions that are temporary but negative."
Wednesday, May 6 | 12:00 P.M.
Small Business Owners Share Advice on How to Pivot Amid Covid-19
Although small businesses have taken a devastating hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, innovative owners are finding creative ways to adapt. Today’s episode of Workshop Wednesdays, hosted by CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focused on how small business owners can pivot their operations to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
CO— Executive Director for Content Strategy Jeanette Mulvey was joined by panelists:
- Chris Herron, Co-Founder and CEO, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, GA)
- Ramon Ray, Founder, SmartHustle.com (New York, NY)
- Bridget Weston, Acting CEO, SCORE (Herndon, VA)
Herron shifted his brewery operations to produce hand sanitizer and created a drive-through, while Ray pivoted his event experience business to helping create fun and engaging virtual events.
“It’s really changed a lot of our mindset moving forward,” Herron said. “We’ve challenged ourselves to think what else might make sense for us to do?”
For key takeaways and to watch the full event, click here.
Wednesday, May 6 | 9:30 A.M.
Chamber Launches Tool Comparing State-By-State Reopening Guidelines, Highlights Significant Differences
The Chamber on Wednesday launched an interactive map with state-specific information to help business owners navigate different state-based public health guidelines as they begin to reopen in communities across the nation.
The map contains critical information for businesses in states where governors have begun to reopen and sector-specific guidelines for retailers, restaurants and bars, childcare facilities, and many other industries.
“The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for American employers who are working hard to protect their employees and customers as they navigate a safe and sustainable return to business,” said Neil Bradley, the Chamber's Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer. “It is absolutely critical for employers to have uniform guidelines that can be practically implemented as they move to reopen.”
Last week, the U.S. Chamber and Council of State Chambers sent a letter urging President Trump, governors, mayors, and county officials across the country to work together on consistent rules for a staged reopening of the American economy.
Tuesday, May 5 | 2:30 P.M.
Chamber Leaders Say Helping Small Businesses Bring Back Employees and Generate Revenue is Critical
On a call with reporters on Tuesday Chamber Vice President of Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan said that challenges facing small businesses owners, many of which are highlighted in the Chamber’s new Coronavirus Small Business Impact Poll, will inform what kind of support is needed for small businesses to get back to work.
“These results from the MetLife and Chamber poll help us keep our feet firmly on the ground of Main Street, where our small business membership is,” Sullivan said. “We're able to then communicate that information to Capitol Hill, the White House, and others.”
The Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley highlighted the finding that 54% of small business owners are concerned about their ability to generate revenue, especially with reopening guidelines where customers can return at only 25% or 50% occupancy levels.
Bradley said in addition to safe reopening guidelines and liability protections, additional legislative support has to include "some type of bridge program for those restaurants and movie theaters and other places that simply won't be able to open to capacity for some period of time.”
"The real question is what comes next, and the most important thing we can do is to help small businesses reopen safely in a way that allows them to begin generating revenue and protect their employees health," Bradley said.
Click the links below to read coverage of the poll's findings:
- More Than Half of Small Businesses Closed Temporarily Amid Coronavirus Outbreak (U.S. News and World Report)
- Relief Aid Is Finally Reaching U.S. Small Businesses After Delays (Bloomberg)
- Details Start To Emerge About House Democrats’ Coronavirus Relief Bill (Roll Call)
Tuesday, May 5 | 10:00 A.M.
Small Businesses Are Ramping up Actions to Survive Pandemic New U.S. Chamber and MetLife Poll Shows
A new poll released today by the U.S. Chamber and MetLife found that small businesses are transitioning to virtual ways of working and seeking more flexibility and financial resources to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some key findings:
- Small business owners report an increase in teleworking (20%, up from 12% last month), and asking for rent flexibility (17%, up from 9%).
- One in three (29%) said they had shuttered their businesses temporarily in the last two weeks.
- More than one in five small businesses (22%) say they are two months or less from closing permanently.
- The biggest concerns for small businesses are a lack of profitability due to the decreased number of customers (54%) and protecting the health of their employees (36%).
- On a positive note, 79% anticipate increasing or retaining the same size staff in the next year.
- Nearly half (47%) of small businesses report that SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding is critical in keeping their business open.
“With the latest round of PPP funds nearly exhausted, it is essential that we identify ways to step up for Main Street and find a solution for additional funding measures,” said Tom Sullivan, the Chamber’s Vice President of Small Business Policy.
Tuesday, May 5 | 9:30 A.M.
Chamber Poll: Clear Majority of Americans Support Protecting Employers from Coronavirus Lawsuits
The Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform released a poll Tuesday showing that Americans across the political spectrum believe that employers must have protections from COVID-related lawsuits as they make decisions about how to safely and sustainably reopen their businesses.
More than six in ten Americans say that Congress should extend liability protections to employers. Specific protections show even higher support:
- 84% of Americans agree that businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies, which have been allowed to stay open as essential businesses, should be protected from lawsuits related to the coronavirus.
- 82% agree that aside from cases of gross negligence, employers who follow public health guidelines to protect their onsite customers should be shielded from exposure lawsuits.
“The global pandemic has caused tremendous economic harm to our nation. As employers plan to reopen safely and sustainably, the last thing they need is to face a financially crippling lawsuit despite their best effort to comply with public health guidelines,” said Harold Kim, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
Tuesday, May 5 | 9:00 A.M.
Chamber's Bradley on NPR: "We're Asking for a Safe Harbor"
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined NPR's Noel King on Tuesday morning to discuss the Chamber's advocacy for liability protections for businesses as states begin to reopen.
"We're not asking for some type of immunity, we're asking for a safe harbor," Bradley said. "If a business is grossly negligent, or if they are willfully forcing workers to work in unsafe conditions, then they don't have that liability protection. No one wants to protect bad actors here, but businesses that are trying to do the right things shouldn't be second-guessed a year later in a court of law."
"We're already tracking over 300 different lawsuits," Bradley said. "It's not a theoretical concern."
Monday, May 4 | 10:30 A.M.
Chamber’s Bradley: 'The Small Businesses We Represent All Want to Do The Right Thing'
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley appeared on Cheddar on Friday to give an update on small business loan programs and discuss the regulatory concerns facing businesses as they plan to reopen.
Bradley said the speed in which funding for the Paycheck Protection Program has dwindled “just helps emphasize the cost of shutting down the economy, particularly for folks on Main Street.”
On small businesses trying to figure out how to reopen, he added: “We're looking to public health officials for their guidance, and then we want to empower employers to implement that guidance."
“The small businesses we represent all want to do the right thing,” Bradley said.
Friday, May 1 | 3:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Encourages Small Business Owners to Continue to Apply for PPP Loans
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley encouraged small business owners not to worry about recent news focused on increased scrutiny of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for larger companies.
“If you’re a normal small business on Main Street, I wouldn’t worry about the headlines you're reading," Bradley said Friday during the latest installment of the weekly National Small Business Town Hall. "If you think you need the money and you have a lender willing to accept an application, go ahead and put one in."
Bradley added he doesn't expect another funding bill from Congress before Memorial Day, but such a bill could include a small business component, money for healthcare providers and state and local governments, and clarifications on issues that arise during reopening.
For key takeaways and a video of the event click here.
Thursday, April 30 | 6:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark Explores How COVID-19 Is Reshaping Consumer Attitudes
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Thursday talked with experts in psychology and consumer behavior to learn more about how COVID-19 is reshaping the attitudes of customers and employees in the United States and beyond.
In the latest episode of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series Clark was joined by panelists:
- Dr. Joshua Ackerman, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan
- Kelsey Robinson, Partner, McKinsey & Company
- Rich Thau, Co-Founder and President, Engagious
The experts shared results from recent studies on changes in consumer behavior during COVID-19, critical steps businesses should take to reassure customers and employees that they are safe, and thoughts on when people will be comfortable returning to "normal."
"This is a generation shaping event, and it's going to change the way consumers behave, not just now, but for years to come," Robinson said.
Ackerman added: “Coronavirus is triggering parts of our psychology in ways that don't normally characterize our everyday lives." On what's needed for reopening, he says, “It’s really about making individuals feel more safe."
Thursday, April 30 | 3:00 P.M.
Chamber Applauds Federal Reserve Changes to Main Street Lending Program
The Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) Executive Vice President Tom Quaadman released the following statement today following the Federal Reserve’s changes to the Main Street Lending Program.
“We are pleased with the changes the Federal Reserve made to the Main Street Lending Program today, many of which the Chamber advocated for. The changes will make the program accessible to more American businesses, and will help eligible lenders administer the program more effectively. We applaud the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to helping ensure the Main Street Lending Program reaches its full potential to help more businesses weather the storm.”
The Federal Reserve's changes include:
- Lowering the minimum loan size to $500,000 from $1 million
- Expanding the pool of eligible borrowers to businesses with 15,000 employees (up from 10,000) or up to $5 billion in revenue (up from $2.5 billion)
Thursday, April 30 | 10:30 A.M.
Americans File 3.8 Million New Unemployment Claims
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy Americans filed 3.8 million new jobless claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The six-week total is now 30.3 million. Read more in Politico.
Use the Chamber’s interactive map to see just how quickly unemployment claims have risen in each state over the past six weeks.
Wednesday, April 29 | 7:30 P.M.
Industry Executives Join President Trump for a Roundtable on Reopening
Business executives joined President Trump on Wednesday to discuss their strategies for reopening. At the event, President Trump praised the 35 states who have released reopening plans, and Vice President Mike Pence said by next week the U.S. will be able to conduct two million tests a week, a major step toward the next stage in the administration's guidelines.
Here’s what the companies shared:
- Waffle House opened some restaurants in Georgia and Tennessee this week with health and safety measures to protect workers and customers.
- Wynn Resorts partnered with University Medical Center in Las Vegas for employees to get tested.
- Hilton partnered with Lysol and Mayo Clinic to develop protocols to ensure hotel guests feel safe.
- When Toyota production facilities head back to work on May 11 in staggered shifts, the company will hand out PPE, conduct daily temperature screenings, and have an app to test employee’s current state.
- Business Roundtable said reopening will require safety first, clear guidelines, and ample testing.
Wednesday, April 29 | 3:00 P.M.
Small Business Owners Share Advice on Avoiding Cyber Attacks During COVID-19
71% of cybersecurity professionals have reported an increase in security threats since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Today’s episode of Workshop Wednesdays, hosted by CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focused on how small business owners can protect their company from cyber attacks.
CO— Executive Director for Content Strategy Jeanette Mulvey was joined by panelists:
- Amy Brace, Owner, Amy's Cupcake Shoppe (Hopkins, MN)
- Spencer Ferguson, Founder, Wasatch IT (Murray, UT)
Brace and Ferguson explored the strategies hackers use to gain access to businesses, simple ways to protect small businesses in an increasingly digital landscape, and the cybersecurity tools needed to keep systems running safely.
For key takeaways and to watch the full event, click here.
Tuesday, April 28 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley on CNN: 'Tape Measures and Rule Books From Washington' Not Realistic For Reopening
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley on Tuesday was interviewed on CNN by Kate Bolduan about the Chamber’s recommendations on health and safety guidance.
“Every workplace is different, and this is unprecedented. The idea that we'll have tape measures and rule books from Washington telling people exactly how to do this isn't realistic when you're talking about millions of businesses,” Bradley said. “We think the work that the CDC and OSHA is doing, applied through the states and down to the local level, is a right way to have a guidance-based uniform approach.”
Asked if businesses are concerned about liability, Bradley said, “The fear is that small businesses will do all of the right things that the public health officials tell them to do, and then someone gets sick and contracts COVID-19 and sues the employer.”
He added: “Most of this will have to be done through timely, targeted, and temporary changes in legislation. We're just trying to protect businesses who are doing the right thing.”
Tuesday, April 28 | 2:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley: 'Businesses Want to Do This Right'
On a call with reporters on Tuesday Neil Bradley, Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, and Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, discussed why policymakers should not convert health and safety guidance into regulations and, to the extent possible, ensure guidance is consistent across federal, state, and local governments.
“Guidelines will help businesses tailor to the unique circumstances they’re in,” Bradley said. “Businesses want to do this right and bring customers and employees back safely.”
Wilson added: “We want a consistent set of guidelines where businesses can use innovations and common sense rather than strict regulations.”
Earlier on Tuesday the Chamber sent a letter urging President Trump, governors, mayors, and county officials across the country to work together on consistent rules for a staged reopening of the American economy following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Click the links below to read coverage from today’s call:
- Businesses Seek Sweeping Shield From Pandemic Liability Before They Reopen (The New York Times)
- U.S. Chamber Cautions Against New Coronavirus-Linked Regulations for Business (The New York Times)
- U.S. Chamber Pushes Back on New Business Rules in Reopening (Bloomberg)
Tuesday, April 28 | 12:30 P.M.
Hospitals and Health Systems, Businesses, Health Insurance Providers Unite to Ask Congress to Keep America Covered
Today, a coalition led by the U.S. Chamber, the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and comprising nearly 30 other organizations, sent a letter to Congress urging swift action to protect Americans’ health care coverage in its response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“As Americans continue to be impacted by the severity of the COVID-19 crisis, the possibility of losing their health coverage should not have to be a concern,” said Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley.
The coalition urges Congress to swiftly pass legislation that:
- Provides employers with temporary subsidies to preserve current health benefits.
- Covers the cost of coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
- Expands use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
- Opens a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance marketplaces.
- Increases eligibility and federal financial assistance subsidies to buy coverage in the health insurance marketplaces.
Tuesday, April 28 | 10:00 A.M.
Chamber Calls on Government Officials to Coalesce on Consistent Health and Safety Guidance, Not Regulations
The Chamber on Tuesday urged President Trump, governors, mayors, and county officials across the country to work together on consistent rules for a staged reopening of the American economy following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
As part of the Chamber’s Path Forward initiative, Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradly and Mark Wilson, chair of the Council of State Chambers and president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday sent a letter to these leaders following a series of calls with more than 300 representatives from U.S. Chamber member companies.
“We urge federal, state, and local governments to refrain from converting public health and safety guidance into regulations that may add further challenges for businesses to reopen,” Bradley and Wilson wrote, adding: “To the maximum extent possible, guidance should be generally consistent across federal, state, and local governments.”
Monday, April 27 | 8:30 P.M.
CEOs Give Updates On Testing at White House Briefing
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Monday leaders from CVS Health, Walmart, Kroger, Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, US Cotton, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Walgreens, and Rite Aid gave updates on their plans to ramp up COVID-19 testing.
CEO of CVS Health Larry Merlo discussed plans to add testing capabilities to stores, especially in underserved communities. Walgreens President Richard Ashworth praised the public-private partnership to increase testing and announced plans to expand testing to all states and Puerto Rico.
Other announcements include:
- President Trump said he is asking that the Medicare program make it easier to get testing
- Dr. Deborah Birx announced a three-part blue print for the public-private testing partnership: Robust diagnostics testing plans in all states, timely monitoring systems to track outbreaks, and rapid response programs to control and predict outbreak spots
Monday, April 27 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark Discusses Challenges in Transportation As Businesses Reopen
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Monday hosted the latest installment of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series, exploring the various issues and barriers for returning to work. This episode focused on transportation – both in terms of moving critical supplies and cargo, and how transit systems are protecting riders.
Clark was joined by panelists:
- Rick Cotton, Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
- Nuria Fernandez, Chair, American Public Transportation Association; and General Manager and CEO, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
- Raj Subramaniam, President and Chief Operating Officer, FedEx Corp.
- Phil Washington, CEO, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The discussion included how FedEx is moving PPE and testing kits across the nation, the impact of COVID-19 on the Port Authority’s schedules and ridership, and how public transportation systems are planning for different reopening scenarios.
“It's an opportunity to reinvent transit through this crisis,” said Washington. “It has reinforced the importance of transit in many ways. Transit has become the foundation to move those essential workers.”
Friday, April 24 | 7:00 P.M
White House Shares Governor's Progress on Testing
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Friday Vice President Mike Pence shared several examples of how states are ramping up testing and making innovative partnerships to battle the virus.
Iowa and New Jersey have forged partnerships with universities in their respective states, Minnesota is working with the Mayo Clinic, and Missouri partnered with Google Marketplace so that companies now making PPE have an online portal to sell their supplies.
Other announcements include:
- FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn announced that today the FDA approved the first at home COVID-19 test kit made by LabCorp.
- President Trump announced that today he signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.
Friday, April 24 | 5:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark: Collaboration Between Business and Government Unprecedented
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Friday was interviewed by David Rubenstein for a virtual event hosted by The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Clark joined Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia; and H.E. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador of Singapore to the United States, to share insight on how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re finding government at all levels…really eager to hear what the businesses in their districts can do right now, what they feel like they can do in the future, and what it will take to get up and running,” Clark said. “Path Forward is trying to catalogue the concerns and the cares that businesses of all sizes have about reopening in a way that we hope creates a framework for policy leaders and business leaders to work together.”
Clark also noted concerns that are top of mind for businesses right now related to reopening including liability risks, responsibility in testing, and their role in supplying PPE.
Friday, April 24 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Predicts More Funding Ahead For Small Businesses
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Inc. Editor-at-Large Kimberly Weisul on Friday for another weekly National Small Business Town Hall to discuss recent stimulus package updates and what they mean for business owners.
With new funding signed into law today, and noting the possibility that another tranche of funding could be passed in the weeks to come, Bradley advised small business owners who need aid to get their applications in.
“Congress is likely to be back to debate some of these issues soon, so we could see several different scenarios, but I’m confident that there will be something for small business.” Bradley said. “If I was small business owner, I would want to be in line.”
For key takeaways and a video of the full event click here.
Friday, April 24 | 10:00 A.M.
Chamber Praises Additional Funding to Help Small Businesses, Urges Congress to Prepare to Replenish Funds
The Chamber on Friday applauded Congress and the Trump administration for their bipartisan action in adding another $310 billion to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) after surging demand from small businesses exhausted the initial $349 billion in less than two weeks.
“These additional funds will provide badly needed relief for more small businesses on the brink of closure,” said Chamber President Suzanne Clark. “Unfortunately, we anticipate these new funds will be exhausted quickly. Congress must start working now on bipartisan solutions to ensure these programs do not lapse again. Small businesses and the families and communities they support are counting on these critical relief programs to help them survive the economic shutdown and get on the path to recovery."
Thursday, April 23 | 8:30 P.M.
Trump Thanks Congress for Passing Legislation Aiding Workers and Small Businesses
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Thursday President Trump said he is grateful that Congress answered his call for an additional $320 billion in funding for American workers and small businesses and said he plans to sign the legislation Thursday night.
Other announcements include:
- Vice President Mike Pence announced that the task force will speak with governors tomorrow to discuss expanding testing capabilites
- DHS Under Secretary for Science William Bryan presented recent research that warm temperatures, humidity, and sunlight have a powerful affect on the virus
Thursday, April 23 | 6:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark to Axios: Replenished PPP Funding Won’t Be Enough
During an Axios virtual event on Thursday Chamber President Suzanne Clark said Congress' replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program will not be enough to sustain small businesses through the coronavirus pandemic, stating that "at least another $250 billion" needs to be allocated. Read more on Axios.
"We have to help people who are in real pain right now, and then we have to sensibly and safely reopen so that Americans have access to their paychecks again," Clark said.
She also warned of the possibility that employers could face massive liability concerns by re-opening their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “a second economic risk." Read more on Axios.
Thursday, April 23 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber's Clark Discusses Need for PPE and Protection To Reopen Businesses
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Thursday hosted the latest installment of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series, exploring the various issues and barriers for returning to work. This episode focused on personal protective equipment (PPE) and protocols for returning to work, and the steps employers must be prepared to take to protect workers and customers as a part of a responsible reopening strategy.
Clark was joined by panelists:
- Dr. Angela Hewlett, Medical Director, Nebraska Biocontainment Unit
- Paul Benda, Senior Vice President, Risk and Cybersecurity Policy, American Bankers Association
- W. Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO, Kroger
- Randy Owen, President and CEO, ThermoWorks
The discussion included how companies like Kroger are protecting their workers and customers, if businesses will need to procure PPE for their workplaces, and whether the U.S. has enough thermometers and other supplies now. Click here to watch the full event.
Thursday, April 23 | 9:30 A.M.
Another 4.4 Million Americans File For Unemployment
The Labor Department on Thursday reported that Americans filed 4.4 million jobless claims last week, continuing a five-week wave of massive layoffs. Jobless claims reached 5.2 million last week, and since the pandemic led to widespread shutdowns in mid-March, workers have filed more than 26 million unemployment insurance claims. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber has created an interactive map to illustrate just how quickly unemployment claims have risen in each state over the past six weeks. Forty states have seen more than 10% of their workforce file unemployment claims since the start of March.
Wednesday, April 22 | 9:00 P.M.
White House Announces Initiatives to Help Vulnerable Communities Recover
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Wednesday President Trump urged swift passage in the House of legislation that inlcudes $30 billion for financial institutions that serve minority and distressed communities, and $310 billion in replenished funds for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Other announcements include:
- The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council will focus its efforts on supporting underserved communities impacted by the coronavirus
- Testing partnerships with CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, and other private companies, will focus on vulnerable counties
- Walmart is producing 8.4 million gowns for healthcare facilities, Honda is making 500,00 faceshields, and New Balance is making 100,000 masks a week
Wednesday, April 22 | 1:00 P.M.
Small Business Owners Discuss How To Keep Spirits Up in a Time of Crisis
CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce today hosted the second installment of Workshop Wednesday, a weekly virtual workshop series with small business owners. This week’s event centered on keeping company culture alive and keeping employees engaged during COVID-19.
CO— Executive Director for Content Strategy Jeanette Mulvey was joined by panelists:
- Zawadi Bryant, CEO, Nightlight Pediatric Urgent Care (Houston, TX)
- Joel Clark, CEO, Kodiak Cakes (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Alissa Henriksen, Founder, Grey Search + Strategy (Minneapolis, MN)
Panelists stressed importance of clear, constant communication with employees to keep everyone in the business engaged. “The way that you are communicating today is never going to be forgotten,” Bryant said. Further advice included how to use this time to create a company culture if you don't have one, how to encourage flexibility among employees, and how to communicate difficult decisions.
Tuesday, April 21 | 7:00 P.M.
President Trump: 20 States Have Announced Plans to Re-Open Economies
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Tuesday President Trump noted that since his administration announced “Opening Up America” guidelines, 20 states have announced they’re planning to re-open their economies.
Other announcements include:
- President Trump urged the House of Representatives to pass additional funding for small businesses.
- President Trump had a productive meeting with Gov. Cuomo regarding New York’s statewide testing strategy.
- GE is working with Ford to make 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days.
- The FDA has now authorized over 50 diagnostic tests – including the first take home test.
Tuesday, April 21 | 6:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark on NPR: ‘We Will Have to Act Swiftly for Even More [Small Business] Funding.’
U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark spoke with NPR about Congress and the administration reaching an agreement on additional small business relief.
“We welcome news of the deal. We’re eager to see it enacted. We know that there is just desperate need out there,” she said. “We hear from CEOs every day—small businesses in real pain—and it makes us think that yes, we will have to act swiftly for even more funding.”
Clark also discussed reopening the economy and the challenges ahead. “Employers are worried about two things. One is just getting through this emergency—both the public health emergency but also the economic emergency. And the other is how do you prepare to open?” she said. “When public health officials say they are ready, you get that green light, how are you ready to serve your customers and your employees?”
Tuesday, April 21 | 3:30 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Calls for Swift Enactment of New Small Business Relief
The U.S. Chamber welcomed news today that the administration and Congress reached a deal to increase funding for small business owners under the CARES Act and called for swift enactment.
“We applaud congressional leaders and the administration for reaching a deal to increase desperately needed funding to support America’s small businesses during this difficult time,” said Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Every hour of every day, small businesses across the country are being forced to make difficult decisions due to the significant revenue disruptions caused by the coronavirus. These additional funds could make the difference between keeping a business up and running over the coming weeks or being forced to reduce salaries, lay off employees, or shutter businesses entirely. Congress should enact this legislation immediately to help small businesses that need the funding right now.”
“We urge Congress and the administration to closely monitor the funds available and act swiftly to add additional resources before the funds reach their statutory limit,” Bradley added. “Congress must next turn to making the necessary technical corrections to programs created in the CARES Act to ensure that all employers — especially all small employers — have access to critical support during this time.”
Tuesday, April 21 | 2:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Donohue on CNN International: Class Action Lawyers ‘Have Already Begun to Sue Anybody They Can’
Chamber CEO Tom Donohue appeared on CNN International to discuss Monday’s historic collapse in oil prices and what it means for American businesses.
“The major oil companies are not in need of federal financing or loans. Where the problem is, is in the fracking businesses, the smaller oil companies, who want and will take advantage of the loans that then turn into grants that allow them to keep for up to three months their employees on the payroll, pay the rent, and take care of some of their other expenses, and when the additional money this week is put into that system, I believe that some of those people will be helped.” said Donohue.
In response to a question about reopening the economy and the lawsuits that could arise from this process, Donohue explained: “Class action [lawyers] in the United States have already begun to sue anybody and everybody they can.”
Monday, April 20 | 8:30 P.M.
Trump Says COVID-19 Has Solidified the Need for Domestic Supply Chains
While discussing the administration's continued production of masks, gloves, testing, and other equipment at a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Monday, President Trump said products should be built in the U.S., and the country needs to start bringing supply chains back.
The administration also announced that the Defense Production Act will be used to ramp up production of swabs used for testing. A manufacturer in the Northeast will make more than 20 million swabs, and an Q-tip manufacturer will convert its operations to make 10 million swabs.
Brad Smith, Deputy Administrator and Director at the CMS Innovation Center, added that CMS is working on several ways to increase testing and said 650,000 thermometers will be produced that companies can use to take temperatures so people can go back to work.
Monday, April 20 | 7:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark Chats with Childcare Experts About Heading Back to Work
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Monday hosted the latest installment of the Chamber Foundation’s Path Forward series exploring the various issues and barriers for returning to work. This episode took a deep-dive into childcare.
Clark was joined by panelists:
- Lesley Crawford, Owner and Director, ABK Learning and Development Center
- Tom Wyatt, CEO, KinderCare
The discussion included how the childcare industry has been impacted by COVID-19, how Crawford’s and Wyatt’s businesses have been supporting essential workers, and how childcare facilities will need to prepare and adapt as businesses return to work. Click here to watch the full event.
Monday, April 20 | 11:15 A.M.
U.S. Chamber and State Chamber Leaders Launch Task Force on Reopening Economy
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Council of State Chambers (COSC) on Monday announced the creation of a joint task force to support and coordinate the federal and state approaches to reopening the national economy.
“Unprecedented coordination between business and government is needed to map how we can begin a gradual reopening of American businesses,” Chamber President Suzanne Clark said. “It is critical that states, local governments, and business sectors learn from one another on the best ways to prudently reopen the economy — and this new task force is key to achieving that goal.”
The task force will include representatives from all 50 states, mirroring the coordination between the governors and the federal government.
Monday, April 20 | 10:30 A.M.
U.S. Chamber Welcomes Duty Deferral
Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued the following statement today after the administration announced it would defer the collection of some import duty payments for 90 days:
“Providing some temporary tariff relief will help American businesses make payroll and retain employees in the coming weeks. With the current economic downturn, liquidity has become one of the top challenges for businesses of all sizes. Allowing U.S. companies to defer some tariff payments — like the tax relief provided in the CARES Act — will alleviate some of that strain.”
Sunday, April 19 | 12:15 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark on Face the Nation: ‘We Can't Get Back to Work until We Get Back to Health’
Suzanne Clark, President of the U.S. Chamber, appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation to talk about Congress providing additional small business relief and when businesses will get back to work.
“We know that the small businesses out there are really hurting, and every hour and day that goes by without this assistance is really hurting them,” said Clark. “I think the $250 billion is just another really important step in getting aid to the frontlines as quick as possible.”
The U.S. Chamber has been urging Congress to approve additional funds for small businesses.
Clark also emphasized that leaders in government and business must also prepare for reopening the economy:
“What we believe is these businesses and getting paychecks in the hands of Americans at some point requires getting back to work, of course safely and sustainably, when the public health officials say it is okay to do so.”
“We know what a job means to a community and a family, and the faster we can get paychecks into their hands and get these businesses to open, the sharper and faster the recovery will be,” she added.
Clark explained how the Chamber is using its position as convener to make sure stakeholders get the answers they need. “The Chamber is about gathering all of the questions and concerns that small, medium, and large businesses across the country have, and helping to develop a framework for policy-makers and businesses, so when we get the yellow light to reopen, they're ready,” said Clark.
Looking ahead, Clark is optimistic. “What I expect is that companies and communities are going to do the right thing by their people,” she said. “We don't want sick people in the workplace. We can't get back to work until we get back to health. I expect that government and business will work together to figure that out.”
Watch the segment here.
Friday, April 17 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Donohue on CNBC: It's Time to Put More Money In
Chamber CEO Tom Donohue appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell today to talk about restoring funds for small businesses under the CARES Act.
“There are lots of companies that still need support,” Donohue said. “Everyone agrees, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, that we need to put the money in this program right now. It is my hope that over the weekend or on Monday, this will get done.”
Responding to a question on how banks are doing carrying out the program, Donohue said, "They're doing a good job under a difficult circumstance, but we're out of money and it's time to put more in, and by the way, it's not the last time we're going to have to do it.”
Friday, April 17 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Lays Out Recent Updates for Small Business Funding
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Inc. Editor at Large Kimberly Weisul on Friday for the fourth weekly Small Business Town Hall to outline recent updates and answer questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other coronavirus stimulus programs. Funding for the PPP ran out on Thursday, leaving many small business owners in limbo.
“We just simply have to get it refunded," Bradley said. The Chamber is urging Congress to act to shore up CARES Act funding programs.
For key takeaways and a video of the full event click here.
Thursday, April 16 | 8:00 P.M.
White House Releases Reopening Guidelines for State and Local Leaders
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Thursday President Trump announced new guidelines on reopening the country. There is no timeline for relaxing social distancing restrictions but instead a set of criteria for local leaders to use in making decisions, including the ability to set up safe and efficient screening and testing sites and having a sufficient supply of personal protective equiment.
The plan also lays out three phases to loosen restrictions on businesses and individuals once states meet certain checks like having a downward trajectory of documented cases or a downward trajectory of positive tests.
Trump announced that he believes some states will be able to reopen their economies before May.
Thursday, April 16 | 5:15 P.M.
Chamber Makes Recommendations to Aid Mid-Size Businesses
The Chamber on Thursday provided comments and recommendations to the Treasury and the Federal Reserve on a set of programs announced last week, including the creation of a Main Street Lending Program and Paycheck Protection Program Lending Facility.
“The Federal Reserve will, and already is, playing a key role for restoring confidence to the business community and financial markets. Our proposed enhancements will allow Main Street to receive aid quickly and for taxpayers to get the biggest bang for their buck,” said Tom Quaadman, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President for the Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness.
- View the letter about the Main Street Lending Program here.
- View the letter on Liquidity Programs here.
Thursday, April 16 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber Releases Guide to Help Independent Contractors Secure CARES Act Funding
The Chamber today released a new guide to help independent contractors and self-employed individuals secure funding under the CARES Act. The Independent Contractor’s Guide to CARES Act Relief was prepared after the Small Business Administration provided new guidance on Tuesday and is intended to assist millions of independent contractors including accountants, construction workers, musicians, real-estate agents, freelance writers, and gig workers.
According to IRS data from 2016, nearly 23 million Americans earn wages as independent contractors working either part or full-time.
This interactive map illustrates the depth and breadth of the nation’s independent workforce, showing both the number of independent contractors in each state and the number of independent contractors in each state that work through online or app-enabled platforms.
Thursday, April 16 | 4:30 P.M.
Experts Say Widespread Testing Is Needed in Return to Work Strategies
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Thursday hosted a webinar that explored the role of testing in getting back to work as part of the Chamber Foundation’s new Path Forward series.
Clark was joined by panelists:
- James Bullard, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis
- Dr. Alan Wright, Chief Medical Officer, Roche Diagnostics Corporation
- Dr. Troyen Brennan, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health
The discussion covered how quickly widespread testing will be available and what strategies certain industries or communities may have to employ. Click here to watch the full event.
Thursday, April 16 | 1:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark on CNN: 'The Sooner We Can Get Back to Work The Better'
Chamber President Suzanne Clark appeared on CNN Thursday to discuss next steps for businesses to prepare for reopening.
“For businesses trying to reopen, they have more questions than answers at this point, and they're trying to use this period to make a plan, to be able to anticipate the challenges ahead, and be ready when that green light comes," Clark said. "There are a lot of essential businesses and workers who are currently at it. What can we learn from those businesses in terms of what has worked and what hasn't?”
Clark also expressed the need for additional funding for the CARES Act, saying: “We need Congress, and we expect Congress to display the kind of bipartisan cooperation they displayed in getting the CARES Act done because we know that every hour, every day counts for these small businesses in trying to pay their employees and stay afloat.”
Thursday, April 16 | 12:10 P.M.
Chamber Urges Congress to Restore CARES Act Funding for Small Businesses
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley released the following statement on Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding reaching its statutory limit:
“Today’s tragic and staggering unemployment figures underscores the dire need for bridge funding to keep more Americans on the job and more businesses afloat during the coronavirus economic crisis. There is absolutely no excuse for failing to get these funds approved immediately. American small businesses, self-employed workers, and independent contractors need and expect the type of bipartisan cooperation that led to the CARES Act to solve this immediate crisis.”
Thursday, April 16 | 12:00 P.M.
Job Losses by State Highlights Need for Thoughtful Return to Work Plan
The Chamber issued new state specific unemployment data from March 14 to April 4 following the Labor Department’s release earlier today. The data shows how each state has been impacted by the sudden economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus.
“Today’s report of an additional 5.2 million unemployment claims is tragic, and it compels us to redouble our efforts for a measured and medically informed approach to reopening the economy that ensures that these job losses are temporary,” said Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley.
States with the highest percentages of people out of work include:
- Michigan - 18.7%
- Rhode Island - 18.7%
- Pennsylvania - 17.8%
- Nevada - 17.6%
- Hawaii - 17.0%
Thursday, April 16 | 9:00 A.M.
5.2 Million Americans File Jobless Claims and Retail Sales Drop
The Labor Department on Thursday reported that Americans filed 5.2 million jobless claims last week. The four-week total is now over 22 million and puts cumulative job losses for the past month well ahead of those during the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
The job losses continue to hit the retail and services industries hard, as well as the health care, manufacturing and construction industries. The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday reported a record-breaking 8.7% March drop in retail sales.
Read more in Politico.
Wednesday, April 15 | 8:00 P.M.
White House to Announce Guidelines for Reopening the Country Tomorrow
President Trump announced today at a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force that his administration will release guidelines tomorrow on reopening the country, but decisions will be left to governors and mayors for their respective states and metro areas.
Trump spoke with business leaders today from across several industries who provided insight into what is needed further on supply chains, testing, drug treatments, and equipment for their businesses to get back to work.
Other announcements include:
- Trump called on Democrats in the Senate to approve nominees for several positions that are now needed to help manage the coronavirus crisis.
- Trump criticized Democrats in Congress for delaying a second wave of Paycheck Protection Program funding.
- FEMA is now working to move masks and protective equipment to businesses working on critical infastructure.
- Abbott Labs announced a new COVID-19 antibody test today that identifies if a person has had COVID-19, and will be able to test 20 million people in a matter of weeks.
Wednesday, April 15 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber Launches Nationwide 'Save Small Business' Initiative
The Chamber on Wednesday launched the Save Small Business Initiative, a nationwide program to address small businesses’ immediate needs, mitigate closures and job losses, and mobilize support for long-term recovery.
“Our nation is facing a crisis that requires an unprecedented level of support and collaboration between government and business,” said Tom Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The Save Small Business Initiative is a multifront battle plan to combat the ongoing economic destruction and lay the foundation for recovery.”
Coupled with the call to action, the four-part campaign includes:
- Supplemental Financial Assistance: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Save Small Business Fund will provide $5,000 supplemental grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities.
UPDATE: Due to overwhelming response to this grant program, we have reached our capacity and we are not accepting new applicants at this time. We know these are difficult times, and we wish we could help everyone who needs it.
- Advocacy: The Chamber will continue to fight for legislation, executive actions, and other government efforts to help small businesses devastated by the pandemic and economic downturn.
- Resources, Webinars, and Guides: The Chamber is accelerating and expanding its efforts to deliver the guidance and expertise small businesses need to survive the crisis and recover following the pandemic.
- Research: The Chamber and its Small Business Index partner MetLife transformed their quarterly survey into a new Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll. The online survey of 500 small business owners provides insights on the pace of recovery, which small businesses need the most suppor, and what type of relief is needed.
Wednesday, April 15 | 3:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark on Bloomberg: 'We Are an Innovative Country'
Chamber President Suzanne Clark joined Bloomberg Radio host David Westin to discuss the Chamber’s Path Forward guidance to reopen the economy. The segment aired on Bloomberg television and radio Wednesday afternoon.
“The more minds we have at the table the better, especially with something unprecedented. The task force the administration has put together has phenomenal names across a bunch of sectors,” Clark said. “We have been working with the White House directly on the overall framework and guidelines and with our members in each of the sectors about specifics.”
She added: “The place to be optimistic is that we are an innovative country. We are already seeing ingenious solutions to these things. I never bet against American entrepreneurs and the ways they will figure out to solve this problem.”
Wednesday, April 15 | 1:30 P.M.
CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hosts Workshop Wednesdays with Small Businesses
CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a series of Workshop Wednesday webinars today to share advice on how small businesses can keep customers engaged during coronavirus.
Executive Director for Content Strategy Jeanette Mulvey led a discussion with three small business panelists who gave expert advice on connecting to customers while they are at home through email and social media, and shared tips on creating engaging content. Watch the full event here.
Each Wednesday the event will focus on a new, relevant topic. Click here to register for future workshops.
Wednesday, April 15 | 11:00 A.M.
Chamber Releases Recommendations to Speed COVID-19 Vaccine and Drug Treatments
The Chamber on Tuesday sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on how best to continue working with the private sector to accelerate and deploy innovative solutions in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
“Business and government are rallying to develop drug treatments, vaccines and medical equipment needed to combat COVID-19,” said David Hirschmann, President & CEO of the Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). “Our recommendations will allow America to take advantage of its innovation edge, develop solutions quickly and remove obstacles to speedy action.”
The recommendations center on the following topics:
- Public-Private Partnership to Accelerate Delivery of Treatments and Vaccines
- Maintaining Access to Knowledge
- Securing Trusted Brands and Fighting Counterfeits
Wednesday, April 15 | 10:30 A.M.
Chamber Releases Statement on Trump Cutting WHO Funding
Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued the following statement on the administration’s announcement regarding the World Health Organization (WHO):
“The Chamber supports a reformed but functional World Health Organization, and U.S. leadership and involvement are essential to ensuring its transparency and accountability going forward. However, cutting the WHO’s funding during the COVID-19 pandemic is not in U.S. interests given the organization’s critical role assisting other countries — particularly in the developing world — in their response."
Tuesday, April 14 | 8:30 P.M.
Trump To Stop Funding for the World Health Organization
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Tuesday President Trump announced that he is instructing his administration to stop funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and will be conducting a review of the WHO’s handling of COVID-19.
President Trump also said he will speak to all 50 governors this week and work with each state to develop a plan to reopen their respective states; some will potentially be before May 1.
Here are some additional announcements:
- Trump shared the list of leaders and CEOs he plans to gather input from on reopening the country. The list includes names from agriculture, banking, sports, technology, and healthcare, among others.
- Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and major airlines reached an agreement on the guidelines of the airline's funding from a coronavirus relief package passed last month.
Tuesday, April 14 | 8:00 P.M.
Chamber’s Brilliant: 'We’re Watching Very Carefully What Other Countries are Doing'
Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant appeared on CNBC Asia to talk about the Chamber’s Path Forward program and what the U.S. can learn from other countries.
“We want to get our economy up and running, but you also want to be smart about it. We want to look into health and safety issues because the virus is not going away overnight,” Brilliant said. “I hope that we learn from the lessons that we can see that took place in China, but the risks are still there for China as they are for any other country that is beginning to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.”
Tuesday, April 14 | 7:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Clark: ‘Whenever There is a Time of Disruption, There is a Great Period of Innovation'
Chamber President Suzanne Clark on Tuesday joined PBS News Hour host Judy Woodruff to discuss the Chamber’s new Path Forward program, an initiative to address how Americans and businesses can return to work.
“We want to help both government leaders and business leaders anticipate what new restrictions, what new equipment, and what new risks are out there so that they can really be ready,” Clark said. “You can't underestimate what a job means to a family or to a community, and once we return to health, we need to be ready to return to work.”
Monday, April 13, 9:00 P.M.
White House to Consult Business Leaders on Plans to Reopen the Country
President Trump announced Monday at a briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force that a list of business leaders has been compiled, and the administration will seek input and gather questions from every industry before offering guidelines on reopening the nation. Trump said guidelines will be coming soon.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that $230 billion of the $350 billion allotted in the CARES Act for the Paycheck Protection Program has been used, and urged Congress to come to an agreement to replenish the funding to keep small businesses open.
Monday, April 13, 10:30 P.M.
Chamber Launches “Path Forward” Program to Lead Conversation on How America Can Return to Work
The Chamber on Monday announced the “Path Forward” program, an initiative to address how Americans and businesses can return to work safely, successfully, and sustainably.
The program includes a comprehensive framework of considerations, an event series that will feature diverse viewpoints from the public and private sectors, and recommendations on the practices and policies needed to begin a phased process to bring the full American economy back to work.
“How America reopens will be the result of unprecedented coordination between business and government, and the planning must begin now. We need new processes and rules that reflect the realities of the pandemic,” said Chamber President Suzanne Clark.
In a letter sent to members, national associations, and state and local chambers across the country on Monday, the Chamber outined considerations across three different areas:
- Essential Services and Resources
- Resolution of Regulatory and Legal Liability Issues
- Support for Businesses and Individuals
The event series launches today at 3:00 p.m. with Dr. William Hanage, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Register here.
Future events, which will occur on Mondays and Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. for the next several weeks, will explore potential barriers to reopening, such as childcare and transit; complex questions about immunity and liability; and ways employers can incorporate screening, social-distancing, and other approaches into the workplace.
Friday, April 10 | 5:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley Shares Advice for Independent Contractors Applying For PPP Loans
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Inc. Editor at Large Kimberly Weisul on Friday for the third weekly virtual Small Business Town Hall to outline recent updates and news related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and answer questions. On Friday the PPP application process opened to independent contractors and sole proprietors.
“There are more than 23 million independent contractors in the U.S., so that’s a tremendous new volume coming into the system,” Bradley said. As of Friday, more than 250,000 small businesses have applied for loans and are in the process of receiving them, totaling $100 billion.
The Chamber is urging Congress to act on legislation to provide additional an additional $250 billion in funding before the initial $350 billion for the PPP runs out.
For key takeaways and a video of the full event click here.
Friday, April 10, 3:00 P.M.
Trump to Appoint Bipartisan Advisory Council for Reopening the Country
At a press briefing Friday with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that next Tuesday, members of the "Opening Our Country Council,” comprised of business leaders, doctors, and potentially governors, will be revealed.
Here are some additional announcements:
- The Department of Agriculture will be expediting aid to farmers and ranchers, providing $16 billion in relief to keep the supply chain moving and ensure the food supply is stable and safe.
- President Trump spoke with the President of Mexico today about the ongoing oil crisis.
- Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the task force is closely monitoring data on African American and other minority communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Friday, April 10 | 10:30 A.M.
Chamber’s Sullivan Answers Small Business Owners' Questions on FB Live
Chamber Vice President of Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan on Thursday joined Gordon Food Service on Facebook Live to discuss the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and answer questions from small business owners. Sullivan encouraged small business owners to have a conversation with their local bank, and outlined the specifics of both the PPP and the SBA Disaster Assistance Loan programs.
Sullivan answered questions concerning:
- 1099 workers and sole proprietors
- If it’s too late to apply for a PPP loan
- How quickly the loans are being funded
- What to do if you have already laid off workers
Thursday, April 9 | 8:30 P.M.
Trump Urges Bipartisan Agreement on Additional Loan Funding
President Trump on Thursday at a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force encouraged Democrats and Republicans to come together to provide additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Task Force also announced the Treasury will be issuing a new FAQ document to clarify how seasonal businesses can get PPP loans.
Here are some additional announcements:
- Trump announced that today he worked with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on a proposal for airlines to be announced over the weekend.
- President Trump spoke today with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who he says are very close to coming to an agreement on oil production.
Thursday, April 9 | 6:30 P.M.
Rubio Outlines Paycheck Protection Program Challenges and Solutions
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, on Thursday released an update on the Paycheck Protection Program outlining the program’s current challenges, and detailing the solutions taking place.
Thursday, April 9 | 9:30 A.M.
Fed Unveils New Programs to Aid Small Businesses
The Federal Reserve on Thursday unveiled several programs that it said would provide $2.3 trillion in loans, expanding its lending to small businesses, U.S. cities and states, and previously announced corporate lending programs.
The Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF) will extend credit to eligible banks that originate PPP loans; and to ensure credit flows, the Fed will purchase $600 billion in loans through the Main Street Lending Facility. Read more in Politico.
The U.S. Chamber on Thursday applauded the leadership of the Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Treasury for creating the much-needed Main Street Lending Facility as well as other important programs to support all businesses and provide access to the financing they need to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The creation of the Main Street Lending Facility is critical for the economy to weather this storm,” said Neil Bradley, Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer. “Businesses of all sizes should benefit from policies that are designed to provide liquidity. Mid-sized businesses employ over 60 million Americans, and the Chamber is pleased to see our recommendation for a lending facility will be implemented to tide these businesses over and ensure that they can continue to pay their employees.”
Tuesday, April 7 | 8:00 P.M.
Trump Calls for $250 Billion in Additional Funds for Small Businesses
President Trump said Tuesday at a briefing with member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force that he is asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses. Earlier in the day the President spoke with banking and finance leaders from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi Group, Visa, Mastercard, and more.
Here are some additional announcements:
- Trump says he is considering withholding funding from the World Health Organization as a “powerful hold” for not been aggressive enough in confronting the dangers from the virus.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that COVID-19 is having a greater impact on minority communities, bringing to light health disparities in the U.S.
Tuesday, April 7 | 2:30 P.M.
Chamber Calls for Uniform Approach to Identify Essential Workers and Functions
The Chamber on Tuesday called for renewed focus on a uniform approach to identifying essential workers and functions as a patchwork of guidance has emerged domestically and internationally amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber has released two resources to navigate these challenges:
- The Essential Workforce Tracker tracks the ‘stay at home’ guidance issued by each state and maps it to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidance by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
- A set of “International Principles for Safeguarding Essential Economic Functions in the COVID-19 Pandemic” provides a more consistent approach to identifying essential economic functions across the globe.
“A single country acting alone cannot hope to defeat this threat to public health and global economic stability. Governments and companies should acknowledge the inevitable tension between social distancing and the need to allow for essential economic activity to continue,” said John Murphy, the Chamber's Senior Vice President of International Policy.
Tuesday, April 7 | 10:30 A.M.
Chamber Asks Congress to Ensure No Small Business is Left Behind in CARES Act
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley today sent a letter to congressional leaders urging quick action for American small businesses should Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding not be enough after surging demand for those programs.
“We are sure that you agree that no small business, non-profit, self-employed individual, or independent contractor should be left behind simply because others applied and received loans or grants first. We urge you to reassure small businesses that Congress will quickly increase funding for these programs should they approach their limits,” Bradley said in the letter.
While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) just began accepting applications on April 3, loan commitments reportedly already exceed 10% of the total $349 billion available. The upgraded SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program has a $10 billion cap on grants, which will support only 1 million businesses and non-profits.
Monday, April 6 | 9:00 P.M.
Trump Vows to Provide More Funding, Warns of Rough Week Ahead
At a press briefing Monday with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force President Trump said tens of thousands of small businesses have applied for more than $40 billion in relief funding under the Paycheck Protection Program. Trump said if funds run out, he is prepared to ask Congress for more immediately.
Trump warned of a rough week ahead, but praised Apple's announcement that they will be developing 1 million face shields per week, and Salesforce which donated 48 million pieces of personal protective equipment. Trump also announced he reached an agreement with 3M, which will make 55.5 million face masks a month. Read more on Fox Business.
Here are some additional announcements:
- CVS is launching drive-thru testing in various states
- $30 billion in relief funding will be distributed to hospitals this week out of a total $100 billion
- On April 1, the China Trade Deal was executed, and out of the $250 billion that was signed, approximately $50 billion will be sent to farmers
Friday, April 3 | 8:00 P.M.
Trump Moves to Prohibit Exports of Scarce Supplies
At a press briefing Friday with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force President Trump announced that he is invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to prohibit companies from exporting scarce supplies to other nations. Read more in The Wall Street Journal.
The Task Force also announced the Centers for Disease Control is recommending all Americans wear face masks if they need to go out in public.
Here are some additional announcements:
- The application window opened today for the Paycheck Protection Program, and $3.5 billion in loans was requested today.
- President Trump spoke with energy executives Friday and announced that the government will make space available in strategic petroleum reserves to store oil for a later time.
- Providers treating uninsured patients for COVID-19 will be reimbursed using $100 billion in funds from the stimulus packages passed last month.
- BlueCross BlueShield announced it will not require any copays from COVID-19 patients for next 60 days, similar to the commitments of Cigna, Humana, and Anthem.
Friday, April 3 | 3:00 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley Answers Small Business Owners' Questions on Getting Loans
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Inc. Editor at Large Kimberly Weisul Friday for a second weekly virtual small business town hall. Bradley discussed recent changes to the CARES Act, how small businesses should navigate working with banks, and the results of the Chamber’s new Small Business Index poll. 5,500 small business owners joined the event.
“Lending programs are really stepping up and figuring how they can do this as soon as possible, but there's a lot to work through,” Bradley said. “We all have to have a bit of patience.”
Bradely answered questions from small businesses on:
- 1099 worker eligibility and guidance for venture-backed companies
- What Paycheck Protection Program loans should be used for
- How quickly banks will be ready to process the loan applications
- Applying for Paycheck Proection Program Loans if you already have an Economic Injury Disaster Loan
Friday, April 3 | 12:00 P.M.
Chamber Releases New Guide on Paid Leave and Family Medical Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. Our guide provides information on requirements, employee eligibility, paid leave calculations and exemptions.
Click the links below to access more Chamber guides:
- Guide to Small Business Emergency Loans (Paycheck Protection Program)
- Guide to Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
- Guide to Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)
- Guide to Temporary Paid Leave and Family Medical Leave
Friday, April 3 | 11:00 A.M.
Chamber Poll Reveals 1 on 4 Small Businesses on Brink of Permanent Closure
A new poll taken from March 25 – 28, 2020 and released today from the U.S. Chamber and MetLife reveals the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. small business community.
Here are some key findings:
- One in four (24%) small businesses have shut down temporarily in response to COVID-19.
- Among those who haven’t temporarily shut down yet, 40% report it is likely they will do so within the next two weeks. This means a total of 54% of all small businesses report they are closed or could close within the coming weeks.
- Small businesses are most favorable toward financial assistance in the form of direct cash payments (56%), but also prefer SBA disaster loans (30%).
"This is the only survey I’ve seen that really captures the current moment about what's going on with small businesses. The next couple months are going to be critical for figuring out how many small businesses make it through this into the other side," said Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley on a call with reporters Friday. "But there's good news in the sense that the things that are most likely to help them traverse this period are the things that were enacted as part of the CARES Act.”
Click the links below to read coverage of the poll:
- Poll: Almost One in Four Small Businesses are Two Months or Less Away from Closing Permanently (The Hill)
- Jobs May Not Come Totally Back for Years, All Depending on How Small Businesses Weather This Storm (CNBC)
- Half of Small Businesses May Close Within 2 Weeks (Inc.com)
- Jobless rate jumps to 4.4 percent in March, but much worse lies ahead for American workers (The Washington Post)
Thursday, April 2 | 9:00 P.M.
White House Gives Updates on CARES Act Loans, Applications Start Friday
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza joined President Trump for a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to encourage small business owners to apply for loans ahead of applications beginning Friday for the Paycheck Protection Program. For a step-by-step guide on how to apply click here.
- The SBA announced streamlined loan verification guiadance for banks Thursday evening, and Administrator Carranza said the private and public sector must work together to ensure small businesses are put first.
- Secretary Mnuchin announced that interest rates for the new CARES Act loans will increase from 0.5% to 1%.
Read more in Politico.
Here are some additional announcements:
- Trump announced that he is using the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of N95 respirator masks.
- Peter Navarro said the U.S. is over-reliant on the global supply chain and the coronavirus crisis highlights the importance of President Trump’s “Buy American” order and focus on secure borders.
- The FDA authorized a test that will identify COVID-19 antibodies in people’s immune systems.
Thursday, April 2 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber's Donohue on Fox Business: "American Companies are Getting Materials Together in a Very Fast Way "
Chamber CEO Tom Donohue joined Neil Cavuto on Fox Business on Thursday to discuss the administration's use of the Defense Protection Act (DPA).
"We have encouraged the administration to use this important piece of regulation to help things move forward in an orderly process, but we encourage them not to use it to try to force American companies to manufacture or develop materials in a way that the government wants them to do it," Donohue said. "American companies are getting materials together in a very fast way, it's not simple, and we're working on it very hard."
Thursday, April 2 | 9:30 A.M.
Unemployment Claims Rise to 6.6 Million
The Department of Labor on Thursday said more than 6.6 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week as businesses shut down during the coronavirus epidemic.
The new claims bring the two-week total to nearly 10 million, and double last week’s record high.
Wednesday, April 1 | 8:30 P.M.
Trump Cracking Down On Foreign Threats Amid COVID-19 Response
At a press breifing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force President Trump announced he is significantly enhancing counter narcotics operations to protect the U.S. from drug cartels attempting to capitalize on the coronavirus situation. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said it would be a mistake for any adversary to do us harm during this national health crisis.
Here a few additional annoucements:
- In response to questions about a fourth stimulus bill that would include infrastructure, Trump said if it happens, that would be great. He mentioned he had proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would also add jobs.
- Trump praised Walmart and Cardinal Health for providing gowns and equipment.
- 17,000 National Guard members were activated across the country to help move supplies from warehouses to hospitals, and Trump is looking into building two new hospital ships.
Wednesday, April 1 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber Releases Two New Step-by-Step Guides for COVID Employer Tax Credit, Disaster Loans
The Chamber on Wednesday released new guides for businesses of all sizes to secure relief under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Guide: The CARES Act expanded the Small Business Administration’s long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), which includes $10,000 grants for businesses, renters, and homeowners in regions affected by declared disasters.
- Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide: The CARES Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus.
UPDATED: The Small Business Emergency Loan Guide, first issued last week, outlines the steps small businesses need to take to access Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funds. Recently, the Treasury Department issued more details on this program and a loan application available for download.
- April 3: Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for loans.
- April 10: Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for loans.
- There is a funding cap, so the Treasury Department recommends applying as soon as possible.
- Click here for a Spanish language version of the guide.
Wednesday, April 1 | 4:00 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Supports Calls for Tariff Relief
Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued a statement Wednesday on reports that the administration is considering tariff relief as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.
“There’s never a bad time to embrace good policy, and tariff relief would provide some welcome breathing room for American businesses and consumers. Liquidity has emerged as one of the top challenges for businesses of all sizes, and tariff relief— like the tax relief provided in the CARES Act— would alleviate some of that strain,” Brilliant said.
Tuesday, March 31 | 9:00 P.M.
White House Task Force Warns Tough Weeks Are Ahead
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Tuesday evening President Trump said the next two weeks will be difficult. 10,000 ventilators are being held back in anticipation for a surge of hospitalizations still to come, and Dr. Deborah Birx said projections show a possible 84,000 deaths in the U.S. by August.
Here are some additional announcements:
- FEMA continues to send supplies out to all 50 states, and the Army Corps of Engineers is working on facilities in California that will add 50,000 beds.
- When asked about a potential infrastructure bill, Trump said he believes this would be an excellent time to build our infrastructure considering there is a near-zero interest rate and a growing demand to visit the U.S. since our dollar is strong compared to other currencies.
For Small Businesses: Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program will begin this Friday, April 3. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to apply.
Monday, March 30 | 7:00 P.M.
Private Sector Ramps Up Production of Needed Supplies
CEOs of several companies joined President Trump and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force for a press briefing Monday evening to announce their recent efforts to make or donate needed medical equipmet.
- Honeywell is doubling production of masks and created a $10 million fund for employees struggling during the coronavirus
- Jockey International will make up to 50,000 gowns per week, and will give supplies to the new Javits Center hospital in New York City
- United Technologies is producing face shields
Earlier on Monday, a few other companies announced big efforts including Johnson & Johnson beginning human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine by September, and Facebook spending $100 million to help news outlets.
Task Force members announced the U.S. hit one million people tested today, and praised the ingenuity of the private sector for developing new testing methods. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said the FDA continues to work with Abbott on their point-of-care test to make sure it is safe and accurate. Read more about the Abbott test in Bloomberg.
Monday, March 30 | 12:30 P.M.
Chamber Creates Coronavirus Loan Guide to Help Small Businesses
The U.S. Chamber’s Coronavirus Small Business Guide outlines the steps small businesses, independent contractors, and gig economy workers should take now to access funds available through the CARES Act.
Signed into law last week, the new legislation allocated $350 billion in funding for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (track aid amounts by state here).
“We’re putting our shoulders into making sure small businesses know what resources are available,” said Chamber Vice President of Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan on a call with reporters Monday. "We don’t want small businesses to fail because they are aren’t aware of what’s being offered.”
The Chamber is calling on its network of state and local chambers to provide businesses with the information they need to stay afloat and keep people employed during the pandemic.
Click the links below to read coverage of the Chamber's Coronavirus Small Business Guide:
- Here’s How to Get a Small Business Loan Under the $349 Billion Coronavirus Aid Bill (The Washington Post)
- Getting Cash For Your Small Business Through The CARES Act (Forbes)
- The guide was tweeted out by several influencers including Mark Cuban and CNBC host Marcus Lemonis.
- Several members of Congress tweeted about the guide including Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Deb Fisher, Rep. Kevin Brady and Rep. Joe Wilson.
Sunday, March 29 | 8:00 P.M.
Trump Extends Coronavirus Social Distancing Guidelines
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Sunday evening President Trump announced that the country’s social distancing guidelines are now in place until April 30.
Here are some additional announcements:
- Humana and Cigna will be waiving copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for patients with coronavirus.
- The Trump administration will be looking into restoring the deductibility of meals and entertainment costs for corporations to help keep restaurants and bars afloat.
- Today was the first delivery from China for “Operation Airbridge,” a public-private partnership to bring critical supplies to the U.S. using cargo planes.
- On Friday the FDA authorized a new test made by Abbott that produces results in five minutes.
- The FDA is close to approving a method for sterilizing masks made by an Ohio company.
When asked about the possibility of another stimulus bill, Trump said, “I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to save lives and bring our economy back to where it was before.” Vice President Mike Pence ended the briefing by specifically thanking American businesses for stepping up “with a spirit we haven’t seen for awhile in this country.”
Friday, March 27 | 9:00 P.M.
Trump Invokes Defense Production Act to Increase Supply of Ventilators
On Friday President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to prioritize making ventilators, and said later at a press briefing that within 100 days, the U.S. will have three times the amount of ventilators. The president said his administration will continue to work in partnership with the private sector to get needed supplies.
New announcements include:
- Boeing will start producing thousands of face shields a week to donate to healthcare workers on the front lines, and will offer a cargo plane to the government to deliver supplies.
- Apple created a COVID-19 app to give health recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Friday night the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration is preparing to suspend collection of import tariffs for three months to give U.S. companies financial relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump could still overrule the plans.
Friday, March 27 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber Praises $2 Trillion Economic Relief Package, Shifts Focus To Helping Businesses Secure Necessary Funds
Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue on Friday applauded Congress and the administration for their responsive actions to help businesses stay open and pay their employees and reduce the potential of future layoffs.
“In the days, weeks, or months to come—however long it takes—we will work tirelessly with our partners in the public and private sector to stabilize the economy, restore commerce, rebuild supply chains, and eventually reinvigorate growth. Again and again, America has proven its resiliency, and we are confident that we can and will weather this storm together," Donohue said.
Friday, March 27 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber Releases Resources for Small Businesses During COVID-19
Every industry, business, and state is facing a financial impact, but small businesses are bearing the brunt of the disruption. The Chamber on Friday released several resources to help small businesses take advantage of new CARES Act loan programs, and find inspiration to fight the spread of the virus in creative ways.
- The Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist will take you step-by-step through the process of preparing to file for a loan.
- This Interactive Map shows the amount of aid available under the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program for each state.
- The Chamber’s web tracker shows how businesses of all sizes are stepping up efforts to combat COVID-19.
- Read how 10 small businesses have shifted their operations to fight COVID-19 in creative ways.
- Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Inc. Editor at Large Kimberly Weisul for a virtual town hall to discuss how small businesses can get CARES Act loans. Watch the entire event here.
Friday, March 27 | 9:00 A.M.
Chamber Urges Trump to Reconsider “Buy American” Mandate
On Thursday the U.S. Chamber joined with several national, state, and local organizations to send a letter asking the Trump Administration to reconsider a move to expand the reach of “Buy American” mandates to health-related goods.
The letter stated that a “Buy American” executive order could delay the discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine and other treatments, worsen shortages of critically-needed medicines and medical products, and undermine prospects for economic recovery. Read the full letter here.
Thursday, March 26 | 8:00 P.M.
Trump Annouces Plan to Get Some States Back to Work
At a press briefing with members of the White House Task Force on Thursday, President Trump said his administration is considering sending some sections of the country back to work sooner than others based on new data categorizations. According to Dr. Deborah Birx, nearly 40% of the country (19 states) report a low level of cases.
Trump annouced that he met with the leaders of the G20 nations today, which includes China, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK, among others, and is working with countries to coordinate a uniform response to the virus and share data.
Here are a few additional announcements from the Task Force:
- Trump highlighted some of the funding in the CARES Act and hopes it will pass the House without delay.
- A Navy hospital ship will leave from Virginia on Saturday and will arrive in New York City on Monday.
- Trump said he has used the Defense Production Act twice, but said for the most part we don’t need it.
Thursday, March 26 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber’s Bradley: Stimulus Will Get Businesses Up and Running
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Bloomberg Radio on Thursday to discuss the Senate passage of the coronavirus stimulus bill and how it will help businesses recover.
"We believe that this is a sufficient size to stabilize the liquidity crisis that we have in American Businesses today," Bradley said.
"We had a strong economy when we began this year, and the fundamentals remain there, and if we can simply bridge this period where businesses don't have any revenue and can resume normal operations when public health officials tell us that it's okay to do so, I think we'll be in a good position."
Thursday, March 26 | 9:30 A.M.
Chamber Applauds Senate Passage of CARES Act, Urges House to Act
Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue applauded Senate passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and urged the House to immediately pass the legislation to help businesses stay open and pay their employees, reduce the potential of future layoffs, and ensure more hardworking Americans have access to their paychecks.
“The CARES Act could make the difference between keeping a business up and running or being forced to reduce salaries, layoff employees, or shutter businesses entirely,” Donohue said.
Overnight, the Senate passed the largest economic stimulus package in recent history with a vote of 96-0. The House is expected to follow suit as early as tomorrow morning, and President Trump has signaled he will sign the measure into law immediately. Read more in Politico.
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said the Chamber is keeping the pressure on to ensure that American businesses are able to stay open and keep their workers on the payroll. Importantly, the bill includes three bold provisions that the Chamber has been strongly advocating including:
- $350 billion in loans for small businesses
- Delayed payroll tax payments to boost liquidity
- $500 billion in federally backed loans and loan guarantees for midsize and large businesses.
Thursday, March 26 | 9:00 A.M.
Chamber Report Confirms Need for Continued U.S., EU Partnership
A study released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU), "The Transatlantic Economy 2020,” highlights the need for the U.S. and Europe to continue efforts to address the coronavirus impact together.
“We face a global emergency as impacts of the coronavirus are felt by businesses, workers and the global economy overall," said Marjorie Chorlins, Senior Vice President for European Affairs at the Chamber. “Increased tariffs on medical supplies or “buy American” requirements which interrupt the supply chain could hinder trade and investment flows and need to be avoided.”
Wednesday, March 25 | 8:00 P.M.
Trump and Mnuchin Call for Quick Passage of Stimulus Package
At a brieifng with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Wedneday evening both President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they hope the Phase 3 coronavirus relief package will be voted on, and passed, tonight.
Trump outlined key parts of the bill saying it will include:
- Retention loans for small businesses and $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits for independent contractors
- $300 billion for direct cash payments to workers earning less than $99K per year
- Over $500 billion for hardest-hit industries with limits on stock buybacks and executive compensation
- $100 billion for the medical field, $45 billion for the disaster relief fund, $27 billion to help build up the strategic national stockpile, $8 billion for vaccine development, and $16 billion for personal protective equipment
The Task Force reiterated that FEMA continues to surge supplies to the New York metro area, which has 56% of all current and new cases.
Wednesday, March 25 | 6:00 P.M.
Chamber's Donohue on CNBC: "This Country Will Stand for Nothing Else"
Chamber CEO Tom Donohue joined Brian Sullivan on CNBC's Fast Money today to discuss the current and future state of the economy in light of COVID-19.
"We need to take all of these resources we've assembled under this very good bill and begin immediately to distribute them around this country so that no company goes bankrupt, no citizen goes bankrupt, no family goes bankrupt. We have things in this bill to avoid it, let's do it," Donohue said.
On the future of our economy, Donohue added: "I’m an absolute optimist – this country will stand for nothing else.”
Wednesday, March 25 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber Welcomes Pledge to Maintain Trade Flows
Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant commended a joint statement made Wednesday by the governments of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand and Singapore affirming their commitment to keeping trade lines open.
“The Chamber welcomes the pledge by these governments to refrain from export controls, tariffs, and non-tariff measures that threaten to impede the movement of essential goods, especially medicines and medical countermeasures and similar supplies,” Brilliant said. “The ability of U.S. industry to deliver these supplies to hospitals and medical practitioners is threatened by such barriers.” Read the full statement here.
Read coverage on the statement in U.S. News and World Report.
Tuesday, March 24 | 7:30 P.M.
Trump Urges Congress to Take Action on Phase 3 Relief Package
As negotiations continued on Capitol Hill into Tuesday evening, President Trump and Director of the Economic Council Larry Kudlow strongly urged Congress to pass the Phase III coronavirus relief package during a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Kudlow announced it’s the single largest Main Street assistance program in the history of the U.S. and said the Treasury Exchange Stabilization Fund will have an oversight board tracking the funds going to distressed industries.
Here are some additional announcements from the Task Force:
- Trump wants to open up the country by Easter. He said a team of public health experts and economists are working on a plan for opening up the country when the time is right.
- The Task Force stressed very high concern for New York City, and asked for anyone who has traveled from NYC recently to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Dr. Deborah Birx said the U.S. number of cases will continue to surge as we work through the backlog.
Tuesday, March 24 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley on Bloomberg Radio: "Time is Not on Our Side"
Following President Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he wants the country open by Easter, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Paul Sweeney on Bloomberg Radio to discuss the Easter timeline and pending relief legislation.
“Ultimately, we needed to be guided by the public health officials,” Bradley said. “It may mean some staggered openings or being able to re-open in some places before others, but wherever the health officials tell us it’s prudent, we can get back to work.”
Bradley urged Congress to stop the political fighting and pass the pending coronavirus relief package. “Time is not on our side on this," Bradley said. "Capitol Hill is only making it more likely that people end up on unemployment.”
UPDATE: The New York Times quoted Bradley on Wednesday saying, "We urge all businesses and the public to listen to the public health officials when it comes to social distancing. We believe we should return to work as soon as we safely and responsibly can."
Tuesday, March 24 | 3:00 P.M.
Trump Wants America Open and “Raring to Go” by Easter
During a Fox News virtual town hall President Trump announced that he wants to see the country opened back up by Easter. He noted that people will need to continue to practice good hygiene and social distancing, but that the country needs to go back to work soon.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that as the country is nearing the end of its “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” the task force will make an informed decision on what to do next.
Here are more key takeaways from the town hall:
- Trump remained confident that the third coronavirus relief package will pass the Senate soon.
- Vice President Mike Pence announced that the federal government sent 2,000 ventilators from the national stockpile to New York and vowed to send 2,000 more on Wednesday.
- Dr. Deborah Birx said new self-swab tests will help free up more personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Tuesday, March 24 | 12:30 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley on Fox Business: “One Size Fits All is Not a Great Policy”
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined Stuart Varney on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. earlier today to discuss the economy amid the coronavirus crisis.
“When it’s safe to get back to work, that’s exactly what we want to be doing” Bradley said. “One size fits all is not a great policy here. The great ingenuity about the American system is that there’s entrepreneurialism in localities all over the place. We ought to stick to that model. That’s what works.”
On the passage of the CARES Act, he added: “This package is absolutely essential and every hour we wait is an hour too long where we’re putting at risk millions of American workers.”
Monday, March 23 | 8:30 P.M.
Trump Says America Will Soon Be Back to Business
At a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Monday President Trump said he is looking at the next steps needed to get Americans back to work in areas that have not been as severely affected by the pandemic.
The Task Force again praised companies that have stepped up to donate or produce supplies, and Trump urged Congress to pass the current coronavirus relief package that provides funds for American workers and businesses.
Here are some additional announcements from the Task Force:
- Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice will be prosecuting fraudulent schemes related to the pandemic, like hoarding supplies and and price gouging.Trump invoked another section of Defense Production Act to deem certain items “scarce,” thereby making it a crime to hoard and price gouge.
- Vice President Mike Pence said self-collected nasal swab tests will become available this week. These will reduce the risk of exposing healthcare providers and don't require the use of personal protective equipment.
Monday, March 23 | 6:00 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley: "Defense Production Act Isn't a Magic Wand"
Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement Monday concerning the Defense Production Act:
"The Defense Protection Act isn’t a magic wand to immediately solving medical supply shortages. It can’t produce highly specialized manufacturing equipment overnight. It can’t convert a refrigerator factory into a ventilator factory.
"The proponents of invoking the Defense Protection Act have not identified what problem exists that this law can solve. What is it that businesses are not already doing that the Defense Protection Act would compel them to do? The fact is American companies are working around the clock to support our country’s response to the pandemic. Companies that have the necessary expertise and infrastructure are working closely with all levels of government to get the products to those who need them most. A variety of manufacturers have risen to the task and suggested that their equipment can be reconfigured to produce medical equipment. The real challenge is that we need to produce sophisticated products that can’t easily be made without the right specialty equipment, which may not be readily available.
"The Defense Protection Act was designed for defense industry products with a single supplier, often with purely domestic production chains. Invoking the law may do more harm than good in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment because it creates uncertainty and confusion for the companies now working day and night to make these needed supplies.
He added: "It’s time to get back to work on fighting this global pandemic."
Monday, March 23 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber Supports CARES Act to Keep Workers on the Job, Businesses Open
The Chamber on Monday released a statement praising and calling for swift passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The U.S. Chamber believes Congress should continue to work together in a bipartisan manner to hash out any remaining details and pass this legislation promptly. We applaud Congressional leadership for including vital relief items to keep American businesses and families solvent and encourage swift passage of the CARES Act,” said Chamber CEO Tom Donohue.
The bill reflects the Chamber’s most vital policy recommendations, namely:
- Pausing the payment of payroll taxes, which will grant businesses relief so they have more cash to keep employees on their payrolls.
- Lending through the SBA and grants for small businesses that will enable this sector to endure through the crisis.
- Establishing a bridge loan facility that will enable businesses to continue to pay employees and provide essential operations for a time on far less, or no revenue.
Earlier on Monday, the Chamber sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to support the CARES act. Read the letter here.
Monday, March 23 | 10:30 A.M.
Fed Announces Emergency Measures to Boost Economy
The Federal Reserve on Monday announced aggressive emergency measures to ensure businesses, individuals, and local governments can get loans to hold them over until the economy bounces back.
“It has become clear that our economy will face severe disruption,” Fed leaders wrote in a statement. “The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support households, businesses, and the U.S. economy overall in this challenging time."
The Fed committed to the following actions:
- Buying as many U.S. government bonds and mortgage-backed securities as needed to support smooth market functioning
- Supporting the flow of credit to employers, consumers, and businesses by establishing up to $300 billion in new financing
- Establishing two facilities to support credit to large employers
- Establishing a third facility to support the flow of credit to consumers and businesses
The Fed also said it expects to announce a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses, complementing efforts by the SBA.
Sunday, March 22 | 8:30 P.M.
Chamber Urges Immediate Adoption of Legislation to Help Workers, Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus
Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued a statement Sunday urging Congress to adopt legislation to aid workers and businesses impacted by coronavirus.
"The latest proposal by Sen. McConnell and the administration would provide support for businesses of all sizes across all industries that have been significantly impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. The bill would help businesses stay open and pay their employees, reduce the potential of future layoffs, and ensure more hardworking Americans have access to their paychecks.
"Every hour that Congress delays action increases the risk that more businesses will shutter and more Americans will fall into unemployment. We can not and should not allow this to happen. We urge Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to work out any remaining differences on this legislation and pass the bill without delay."
Sunday, March 22 | 8:00 P.M.
Trump Outlines New Efforts to Get Supplies to States
As the Senate fell short of the votes needed to pass the $1 trillion coronavirus relief package on Sunday evening, President Trump outlined the latest efforts from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The President approved a major disaster declaration for Washington and said he would soon approve a request from California. This follows the same designation granted to New York on Saturday. FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said within 48 hours, thousands of tons of medical supplies will arrive in California, New York and Washington, and FEMA is fully funding National Guard units in those three states.
Here are some additional announcements from the Task Force:
- Trump praised the support of the private sector and announced Honeywell will begin producing personal protective equipment and n95 masks for the U.S. stockpile.
- Trump announced a consortium including IBM, the Energy Department national laboratories, Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corp. and others, is working on discovering new treatments and vaccines.
- Vice President Mike Pence announced that more than 254,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus, with around 30,000 testing positive. Pence also announced the previous backlog in testing should be caught up by mid-week.
Saturday, March 21 | 3:00 P.M.
Trump Praises Creativity of Businesses Stepping Up to Make Supplies
At a press briefing with members of the Coronavirus Task Force on Saturday President Trump repeatedly praised companies across the U.S. that are switching their manufacturing capabilities to produce needed medial supplies, or donating supplies they have.
Trump said Hanes will produce masks for medical use, alcohol distilleries are making hand sanitizer to ship to high-need areas, General Motors will help manufacture ventilators, and Apple donated two million industrial masks.
The President also announced he had invoked the Stafford Act to declare a major disaster in New York and was considering a declaration for other areas. The act allows FEMA to assist state and local governments in national catastrophes.
Here are some additional announcements from the Task Force:
- FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center is now processing all requests for medical supplies, and prioritizing accordingly.
- Congress is expected to pass the pending third relief package on Monday, which will provide relief to small businesses and industries.
- The Task Force urged people to postpone elective surgeries and reminded that not everyone with symptoms of coronavirus needs to be tested. These actions are essential for preserving medical supplies.
Friday, March 20 | 7:00 P.M.
Chamber Small Business Members Join Call with President Trump
On Friday more than 10,000 small business owners joined a call with President Trump, Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, and the President’s Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow.
President Trump said he hears the urgency from small businesses facing challenges during the coronavirus outbreak. He encouraged business owners to keep complying with public health advisories, keep their doors open, and reassured them that loans are available through the SBA and banks.
Administrator Carranza said the SBA is taking the following actions to eliminate red tape and get funds to small business owners:
- Making it easier for impacted small business to apply for an economic injury disaster loan of up to $2 million
- Signing disaster declarations for 45 states and Puerto Rico, with 50 states and all territories completed by Monday
- Deferring payments on economic injury loans for up to one year
- Offering flexibility and training to SBA contractors to manage small business portfolios
Secretary Scalia reassured small business owners that there will be a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to cover the cost of paid leave for employees, and the DOL is seeking input on how to implement the law.
Friday, March 20 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber Weighs in on Senate “Phase III” Coronavirus Package, Calls for Loans for Mid-Sized Companies
On a call with reporters on Friday, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley detailed a proposal that would “fill the gap” left in the current Phase III package’s provisions for small businesses and large companies.
“It's really important as we think about America's workforce that if we want to prevent the mass dislocation of employees, that we have some type of support mechanism to help employers continue to pay employees, even if they have a headcount of, say, 600 employees or 1,500 employees,” Bradley said.
The policy proposal suggests that the federal government provide guaranteed loans to companies with more than 500 employees who've seen a revenue loss of 10% or more as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
"As an incentive, employers who maintain at least 90% of their headcount on their payroll could receive 10% of the loan in the form of forgiveness at the end of the term,” Bradley said.
The Chamber sent a letter to Congress Friday encouraging this expedited liquidity to help a broader range of businesses support their employees as they cope with the economic effects of the pandemic.
Click the links below to read press coverage from today’s call:
- Chamber Calls for Relief for Employees of Mid-Size and Larger Companies (The Hill)
- Mnuchin, Schumer Pushing GOP to Expand Stimulus in Hill Talks (Bloomberg)
- Proving Distress Is Step One for Companies Seeking Virus Aid (Bloomberg)
- U.S. Business Group Calls for Large-Company Loans to Prevent Layoffs (Reuters)
Friday, March 20 | 3:30 P.M.
Trump Extends Tax Filing Deadline to July 15
At a press briefing with members of the Coronavirus Task force on Friday President Trump announced the Treasury Department is moving Tax Day to July 15, giving Americans an additional three months to file their tax returns.
Here are some additional announcements from the Task Force:
- President Trump announced that the Department of Education is not enforcing K-12 standardized testing this year and will allow federal student loan borrowers to suspend payments for at least 60 days without penalty.
- The U.S. and Mexico agreed to shut down the border but said trade and commerce will not be impacted.
- The Department of Homeland Security announced that for public health reasons no illegal immigrants will be allowed to stay in border facilities and will be returned to their home countries.
- President Trump said he has invoked the Defense Production Act and will work with businesses to make needed medical supplies.
Friday, March 20 | 2:30 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Backs Bridge Loans to Keep Businesses Operating, Employees on Payrolls
While the third coronavirus response package, the CARES Act, will provide much needed relief for small businesses and the hardest hit industry sectors, it fails to take care of the 68 million American workers that are employed by enterprises with more than 500 employees.
The Chamber on Friday called on Congress to build on the Senate’s small business proposal for America’s larger employers but with much less generous terms, via a “bridge loan.”
The "bridge loan" program should consist of:
- Federally guaranteed loans: Companies with more than 500 employees that have seen a revenue loss of 10% or more as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak based on the creditworthiness of the company in January 2020 would be eligible.
- Maximum loan amount: Three months of payroll expenses (including pro-rata healthcare expenses).
- Repayment: Loans would be repayable over five years.
- Employee retention incentive for severely impacted employers: Employers with more than 25% loss in revenue that maintain at least 90% of the employees at existing pay levels through December 2020 would have 10% of their loan forgiven. However, there are other improvements that need immediate attention to provide expedited liquidity to help all businesses cope with the economic effects of the pandemic.
- Backing: These loans would be issued by financial institutions through a credit facility administered through the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Friday, March 20 | 2:00 P.M.
U.S. Chamber Urges State and Local Governments to Follow DHS Guidance on Essential Workforce
The U.S. Chamber today sent a letter to the National Governors Association Chair Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) and Vice Chair Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), praising work being done to combat the coronavirus pandemic and support families and businesses, while also urging state and local governments to issue guidance that aligns with the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.
“We must find the right balance so that essential critical infrastructure workers can continue to support public health and safety, as well as the economic and national security of the U.S.,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue.”
Friday, March 20 | 11:00 A.M.
Chamber Supports Call for Study on Medical Product Supply Chains
The Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued a statement Friday supporting the call for a report on the security of the U.S. medical product supply chain.
“The Chamber applauds Leader McConnell and other authors of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act for including a mandate for the National Academies to issue a report on the security of the U.S. medical product supply chain. As proposals circulate to impose new domestic production mandates on manufacturers of medicines and medical equipment in the midst of the present national emergency, a closer examination of the issues is clearly needed.”
Friday, March 20 | 9:00 A.M.
Chamber Supports Keeping Financial Markets Open
The U.S. Chamber on Friday partnered with several trade associations to state the importance of keeping U.S. financial markets open.
“The U.S. financial markets are critical infrastructure to our nation, and they continue to function as designed despite the volatility caused by the coronavirus. Keeping all U.S. financial markets open is essential to the well-being of the general economy and vital to maintaining and bolstering investor confidence, particularly once the economy recovers from effects of this pandemic.”
Partnering trade associations include:
- Managed Funds Association
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
- American Cotton Shippers Association
- Commodity Markets Council
- International Swaps and Derivatives Association
- Investment Company Institute
Thursday, March 19 | 7:00 P.M.
Senate Republicans Release Coronavirus Package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a proposed economic package this evening to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
- It includes direct payments of $1,200 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 annually.
- It also includes federally guaranteed loans for small businesses, moving back the income tax-filing deadline to July 15, and financial support for hard-hit industries.
Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the Trump administration will now begin talks to hammer out an agreement. Sen. McConnell has stated the Senate will stay in session until a deal is reached. "We need to take bold and swift action as soon as possible," he said. "The Senate is not going anywhere until we take action."
Read more in Politico.
Read the bill text.
Thursday, March 19 | 6:00 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley on Bloomberg TV: "Time is of the Essence”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined "Bloomberg: Balance of Power" anchor David Westin earlier today to discuss Washington's response to the coronavirus and important actions needed to help businesses support their employees.
“We need Congress to do something that has maximum flexibility, that is pretty simple to enact, and allows the Treasury and the Fed and other federal agencies to basically build it as we go,” Bradley said. Watch the full interview on Bloomberg TV here.
Thursday, March 19 | 4:30 P.M.
Chamber Releases “How to Support Local Businesses” Guide, New Customizable Flyer
The U.S. Chamber on Thursday released a new "How to Support Local Businesses" tip sheet, outlining steps every American can take to support small and local businesses that are facing significant disruptions or closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Right click to download and share the graphic above and click here to find additional digital resources.
Earlier, the Chamber released a new, customizable Coronavirus business health and preparedness flyer, which companies can use to show employees and customers that they adhere to CDC health and safety best practices. Click here to customize, download and print your own branded flyer.
Thursday, March 19 | 3:45 P.M.
FDA to Fast Track Antiviral Therapies and Coronavirus Vaccine
On Thursday members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing. Here are some key announcements:
- FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn announced there are two antiviral therapies in clinical trail that could mitigate the symptoms of coronavirus in patients while a vaccine is being fast-tracked. The FDA will allow doctors to use these therapies while they pending approval through "compassionate use."
- President Trump announced that a change he signed into law yesterday now allows suppliers like Honeywell and 3M to sell all of their supply of masks to hospitals.
- President Trump commented briefly on the third coronavirus relief package currently being discussed, saying he would be okay with conditions that restrict companies from using funds for stock buybacks, and the package would help the travel and airline industries and small businesses.
- Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged millennials and Generation Z to consider donating blood to help patients.
Wednesday, March 18 | 6:00 P.M.
Chamber Calls on Trump to Clarify Essential Businesses and Services
U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue sent a letter to President Trump recommending that the administration clarify what constitutes ‘essential infrastructure’ and ‘essential businesses and services’ as state and local governments roll out mandatory business closures.
“It is important that these orders do not inadvertently harm businesses and services that support the essential infrastructure needed to successfully combat this pandemic,” Donohue wrote, adding in his letter a list of sectors that should be considered “essential.”
Wednesday, March 18 | 4:00 P.M.
Chamber Applauds Passage of Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On Wednesday, President Trump signed into law a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package to help American impacted by the coronavirus. The package includes paid leave benefits, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, and food and medical aid to people impacted by the pandemic. It is the second such legislative package passed by Congress to address the outbreak. Read more in Politico.
The Chamber sent a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday urging them to support the legislation. In response to the news of its passage, U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued a statement that read, in part:
“The Chamber applauds congressional leaders for moving quickly to pass a strong, bipartisan coronavirus response package that will provide immediate relief to American workers and families during this unprecedented time. We strongly urge the administration and Congress to now turn their attention to supporting America’s employers.”
He added: "No family or business should go bankrupt because of the unexpected financial hardships caused by the coronavirus.” Click here to read the full statement.
Wednesday, March 18 | 1:00 P.M.
President Trump Announces Efforts to Ramp Up Availability of Supplies and Tests
On Wednesday members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing. Here are some key announcements:
- President Trump said he is prepared to invoke the Defense Production Act to expand the supply of ventilators and masks if needed.
- The U.S. and Canada mutually agreed to close down the border on Wednesday, but Trump said trade between the two countries will not be affected.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending evictions and foreclosures until the end of April.
- The Department of Defense is helping provide hospitals with essential supplies, and DOD labs have been processing tests from across the country. Two military hospital ships are being prepared to be stationed in New York City and the West Coast.
- The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing new regulations that will allow doctors to practice across state lines, and new guidelines to providers on how to help conserve supplies.
- The administration is taking steps to expand testing capacity, including working on a self-swab test currently being evaluated for accuracy and increasing the number of tests through partnerships with commercial labs around the country.
Tuesday, March 17 | 6:00 P.M.
President Trump Announces 90-Day Delay of Tax Payments, Additional Actions
President Trump on Tuesday announced that American taxpayers and businesses will be able to defer making any payments owed to the Internal Revenue Service for 90 days. Individual taxpayers can defer payments of up to $1 million, and corporations can defer payments of up to $10 million, without interest or penalties.
The announcement came along with several other updates and proposals presented by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, all aimed ensuring families and businesses have enough cash to stay afloat. Read more from The Washington Post.
The proposals are part of a roughly $850 billion economic stimulus package that also includes free coronavirus testing for those who need it, paid sick leave and family medical leave for workers affected by the virus, and steps to try to get small businesses the support they need.
Other announcements from the Task Force included:
- Vice President Mike Pence urged construction companies to donate their inventory of n95 masks to local hospitals and forgo any additional orders.
- Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma announced a dramatic expansion of telehealth services will be available for Medicare beneficiaries, the population most impacted by coronavirus.
- Trump announced that he met with executives from the fast food industry Tuesday and discussed the importance of the expanding drive-through and delivery models for food chains.
Tuesday, March 17 | 8:30 A.M.
Administration Calls for $850B in Emergency Stimulus
The Trump administration is reportedly asking Congress to approve a massive economic stimulus package of around $850 billion to blunt economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to sources cited by The Washington Post.
“The package would be mostly devoted to flooding the economy with cash,” The Post reports, including a payroll tax cut or other mechanism, with around $50 billion directed specifically to support the airline industry.
The Chamber a day earlier called on the administration and Congress to cancel the payroll tax through May among a series of proposals meant to support businesses and workers.
Read more in The Washington Post.
Monday, March 16 | 5:00 P.M.
Chamber's Bradley on CNBC: "No family and no business should go bankrupt"
Today, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley joined CNBC to discuss several critical policy recommendations the Chamber proposed earlier in the day. The recommendations are intended to help American businesses of all sizes sustain the funds necessary to pay workers and stay afloat.
On a call with reporters earlier in the day, Bradley added:
“No family and no business should go bankrupt just because of the temporary disruption in income caused by this outbreak. We know that in order to contain the spread of the virus that we're having to reduce - and in some instances, halt - commerce, which means that revenue for businesses is forgone.”
He continued: “The most important thing that we can do with this moment to help employees is to help their employers have the resources to continue to support their employees during this time when they have no incoming revenue.”
The Chamber’s Vice President Tom Sullivan said getting money to small and medium sized enterprises is a top concern. “We're calling on a nationwide designation that would immediately bypass the governor's certification process, more quickly allow small businesses to apply, and allow SBA to get the money to the small businesses,” Sullivan said.
“Making these lending authorities for both small businesses and large businesses alike will give every business the opportunity to maintain the liquidity necessary to weather this downturn, no matter how deep or how long it is,” Bradley said.
Click the links below to read coverage from today’s call:
- U.S. Chamber Calls for Payroll Tax Cut, Loans to Address Virus (Bloomberg)
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Backs Payroll Tax Suspension, Expedited Loans (The Wall Street Journal)
- White House and Congress Under Pressure to Deliver More Stimulus (Financial Times)
- Chamber Calls for Canceling Payroll Taxes, Expanding Loan Programs Amid Coronavirus (The Hill)
Monday, March 16 | 10:30 A.M.
Chamber Calls for Swift Policy Actions to Help Businesses and Workers
The U.S. Chamber on Monday sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders calling for three immediate policy actions to help businesses and workers and mitigate lasting economic damage amid the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the Chamber called for legislation that would:
- Cancel payment of all payroll taxes typically paid by employers for March, April, and May
- Expand and streamline loan programs for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees experiencing revenue loss as a result of the coronavirus
- Enable the creation of credit facilities to provide loans and loan guarantees to employers with more than 500 employees experiencing significant revenue loss as a result of the coronavirus
The letter outlined additional proposed actions identified by members through the Chamber’s recently formed coronavirus task forces.
Sunday, March 15 | 5:30 P.M.
Fed Slashes Interest Rates in Most Significant Move Since 2008 Financial Crisis
The Federal Reserve on Sunday cut its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point to near zero and announced plans to boost bond holdings by at least $700 billion — part of an expansive emergency action in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The moves represent the most dramatic actions by the central bank since the 2008 financial crisis.
Read more from The Washington Post.
Saturday, March 14 | 8:00 A.M.
House Passes Coronavirus Relief Package; Chamber Responds
The House has passed a sweeping coronavirus relief package that would provide free coronavirus testing, provide two weeks of guaranteed paid sick leave and increased family leave to employees at most companies, and increased support for unemployment benefits, among other measures.
The House passed the bill 363-40 during the early morning hours on Saturday after President Trump publicly endorsed the package on Friday evening. Read more from Axios.
Before the bill's passage last night, the Chamber sent a letter to Capitol Hill encouraging action to address the pandemic. In response to the news, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley issued a statement that read, in part:
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds congressional leaders and the Trump administration for assembling a strong, bipartisan coronavirus response package that will provide immediate relief to American workers and their families.
“The Chamber supports providing paid sick leave to those directly impacted by a public health crisis like COVID-19 while also reimbursing small businesses for the unexpected financial burden. Further, an extension of unemployment insurance benefits will provide much needed financial relief to families across the country struggling to make ends meet."
Friday, March 13 | 3:30 P.M.
President Trump Declares State of Emergency
President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak, opening more federal aid for states and municipalities across the country — a rare but not unprecedented move in response to a public health crisis.
The move allows the administration to provide emergency funding to state and local governments.
Specifically, for example, states will be able to request a federal cost-share for expenses like emergency workers, medical supplies, vaccinations, and more. The declaration will also help expand capacity at hospitals and reduce other health regulations that could slow action, the president said.
Read more from USA Today.
Thursday, March 12 | 9:05 P.M.
Chamber Comments on Coronavirus Relief Bill
While acknowledging “the need to address larger issues related to paid sick leave,” the U.S. Chamber today urged Congress not to attempt to mandate a “one-size-fits-all” paid sick leave policy as part of a coronavirus relief package.
“This emergency bill should not create a federal, one-size-fits-all, permanent leave mandate on employers," Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber EVP and Chief Policy Officer, wrote in the letter to Congress. "Those are longer term issues that should be addressed in separate legislation, and we intend to be helpful in seeking a solution to that issue."
Wednesday, March 11 | 9:27 P.M.
President Trump Announces Europe Travel Ban, Economic Policy Actions
President Trump on Wednesday announced that all travel from Europe to the United States will be suspended for the next 30 days, with the exception for the United Kingdom.
The rule takes effect Friday at midnight, and there will be certain exemptions made for select Americans "who have undergone appropriate screenings,” President Trump said. The president also:
- Announced that the administration will provide financial relief for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others who have contracted the virus.
- Announced that private health insurers will halt copayments for testing and help expand coverage related to the coronavirus
- Called on Congress to increase funding for SBA small business loans by $50 billion to help companies in impacted regions
- Pledged to take actions that will inject more than $200 billion of liquidity into the economy through tax and payment deferments for people and businesses impacted by the outbreak
- Urged Congress to cut the payroll tax
Monday, March 9 | 1:00 P.M.
Chamber Supports Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus Actions
U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue on Monday commended the New York Federal Reserve for injecting cash into the lending market, saying in part: “The Chamber applauds the Federal Reserve’s guidance to banks on how to work with customers, and the New York Federal Reserve injecting cash in lending markets. These common-sense solutions will help ensure economic resilience as we navigate the economic headwinds created by the Coronavirus.”
Friday, March 6 | 2:45 P.M.
Chamber Launches Coronavirus Member Taskforces
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched four new task forces to prepare business for the potential long-term economic impacts of the coronavirus. The groups will focus on:
- Employee Support: How to assist individuals who are unable to earn their normal income for a sustained period.
- Business Operational and Revenue Disruption: How to assist businesses, including through regulatory relief, who are closed or experience significant revenue disruption.
- Supply Chain and Trade Disruption: How to manage and mitigate supply chain and trade disruptions.
- Small and Medium Enterprises: How to address the unique needs of small and mid-size businesses.
Friday, March 6 | 10:00 A.M.
Congress OKs, President Signs $8 Billion Emergency Coronavirus Funding Package
President Trump has signed an $8 billion emergency funding package to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The Senate passed the bill 96-1 on Thursday after the House had approved it 415-2 on Wednesday. The bill includes:
- $3 billion for developing treatments
- $2.2 billion for public health measures to help prevent or slow the spread of the virus
- More than $1 billion to be sent overseas
Wednesday, March 4 | 1:00 P.M.
Chamber, Top Business Associations: Prepare, Don’t Panic
At a press conference this morning, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue and leaders from some of the nation’s top business leaders urged businesses and the public to take necessary precautions — but not to panic — in response to the coronavirus.
“Now is not the time to panic,” Donohue told dozens of reporters in the room. “Fear and panic undermine our ability to contain the virus, minimize disruptions to daily life, and keep our economy humming along.” He added: “Americans should continue to monitor the situation, but feel confident as they go about their daily lives, head to work, conduct meetings, or drop their children off at school.”
Monday, March 2| 10:00 A.M.
Chamber Foundation Publishes Resources Informed by CDC Guidance
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has released Coronavirus guides for employers and employees based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Click below to access the materials:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Workplace Tips for Employees
- Guidance For Employers To Plan and Respond To Coronavirus
For more information, visit the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses resources page.
February 26 | 3:36 P.M.
Chamber Calls on Administration to Appoint Coronavirus Czar, Provide Data-Based Guidance
U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue on Wednesday urged the administration to appoint a czar to coordinate a holistic government response to the Coronavirus outbreak, saying: “At this critical time, we need clear accountability and data-based guidance so the public and American businesses can take the proper precautions to mitigate the impact. We encourage Congress and the administration to provide all necessary support to contain the spread of the virus.”
UPDATE: President Trump on Wednesday evening appointed Vice President Mike Pence to coordinate the government’s response to the coronavirus. Read more from CNBC.
February 24 | 3:36 P.M.
Chamber CEO Donohue on Closing Bell: Be Prepared, Don’t Panic
U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue joined “Closing Bell” this afternoon to discuss the state of the economy and business amid the coronavirus outbreak and his recommendations for the business community. Watch the full interview on CNBC here.