The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is urging Congress to provide more aid for its members amid the coronavirus pandemic. This imploration comes after 38% of NAWBO members answered that they were concerned about their business failing, according to a survey issued by NAWBO. Cristina Morales Heaney, the NAWBO National Board Chair, stated that, “It’s simple- our women business owners need help. We need Congress to act” and that “while some of our members are in better shape than others, the ones that are hurting need assistance immediately” in a statement made available on the NAWBO website.
Congress is currently considering a second round of aid for small businesses and families, but there is pushback from representatives who are hesitant to allocate more funding. According to a report written by Jim Sergent of USA Today, the federal government has already allocated 2.4 trillion dollars across four relief bills, including $349 million passed in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by the Small Business Administration over two weeks in April. To put this amount of spending in perspective, that comes out to roughly $17.3 million in aid per minute. $2.4 trillion dollars eclipses the combined amount of money spent on Social Security, Defense, and Other discretionary programs by far, a staggering statistic that highlights how taxing and exceptional the COVID-19 pandemic has been in America.
Despite the extraordinary amount of resources already allocated to small business owners and workers, Heaney calls on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in a letter made available on the NAWBO website advocating for “common-sense, bipartisan solutions [that] would greatly improve the economic landscape for our members as they continue to face these hardships”. This letter comes as no surprise, given that 41% of surveyed NAWBO members answered that they applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and 56% applied for a PPP loan according to information made available on the NAWBO website.
Furthermore, the survey found that 60% of respondents are seeing a continued decrease in revenue in month six of the pandemic, and that 38% of respondents are concerned about businesses failing, with an overwhelming majority believing that they will only be able to survive for three to nine months.
In her letter, Heaney specifically asks Congress to prioritize the supplementation of ensuring the increase of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for small businesses “by… lifting caps and infusing more money”, with the goal that “business owners will remain open by using these long-term, low-interest loans.” Additionally, Heaney advocated for the Small Business Expense Protection Act, a proposed bill with the intent to help small businesses by allowing them to deduct expense paid with a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from their taxes.
Such legislation would have great impact on women-owned small businesses, a demographic of businesses that have been hit especially hard by the lasting effects of the pandemic. According to a report on women-owned small businesses conducted by the Chamber of Commerce, when asked in July, 49% of female-owned small businesses reported that they expected revenues to increase in the coming year. This percentage is a far cry from the 63% of female business owners that expected their revenues to increase when asked at the beginning of the year. Additionally, when asked in July, 47% of female business owners described their business as being in “good health”, a stark difference from the 60% of female business owners that shared this positive outlook. Heaney’s push for more funding would provide a necessary surge for female business owners during a time of uncertainty, but if Congress does not act quickly, the consequence will be bankruptcy for small businesses that are already struggling.
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