Sarah Keller
Former Senior Director, Communications & Strategy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


September 17, 2020


Congress and the administration deserve credit for their swift action early on to support American businesses and workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, but a lot is still riding on the passage of a Phase 4 economic relief package.

Lawmakers must get this done to give our economy a boost and businesses the support they need. The cost of inaction is too great.

Here are 7 industries and groups of people that desparately need Congress to help them bridge these uncertain times.

1. Airlines: Without immediate Congressional aid and action, the airline industry faces unprecedented challenges. Airlines have had to cut flights to smaller cities and may be forced to furlough 75,000 workers. ​​​​​

airlines cost of inaction graphic

2. Restaurants: With an employee base of 15.6 million, the restaurant industry faces detrimental losses as government aid runs out. If Congress does not take swift action to assist these businesses, the restaurant industry could lose over $240 billion by the end of the year.

Restaurants Cost of Inaction graphic

3. Retailers: America’s retailers need further government aid to keep their doors open. Consumer spending is often closely tied to government stimulus, and without new aid, many retailers will feel the brunt of government inaction.

Retailers Cost of Inaction Graphic

4. School-related closures: Coronavirus related school closures could have a ripple effect on the economy. Remote learning — which means no cafeterias, no garbage pickup, etc. — could cost the economy $700 billion in lost revenue and productivity.

Cost of Inaction School Closures graphic

5. Working parents: A lack of childcare has led 13% of working parents to cut their hours or lose their jobs. As roughly a third of the U.S. workforce is composed of working parents, Congress must act now to ensure that parents can continue to work and that they have a safe childcare option.

cost of inaction working parents graphic

6. Small business owners: According to a July survey from Goldman Sachs, an estimated four million small businesses—13% of America’s 31 million smallest employers—have now exhausted their PPP funds. Furthermore, only 7% of small businesses are very confident they will be able to maintain payroll if no further government help is provided. The only way struggling small businesses can receive additional PPP assistance is if Congress and the administration come together and pass a relief package — soon.

cost of inaction small business

7. Unemployed: For laid off workers, the crisis is as acute today and it was in March. By failing to act, Congress is putting unemployment insurance benefits for 27 million people at risk.

cost of inaction unemployment graphic

Lawmakers’ willingness to reach across the aisle and find compromise on Phase 4 will help determine the strength and speed of our recovery. They need to muster a stronger sense of urgency, purpose, and determination to support those still on the brink. The time to act is now, without further delay.

About the authors

Sarah Keller

Sarah Keller is the former Senior Director of Communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is the team.