U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, met Friday with local business owners from Metro East to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their businesses.
Duckworth discussed the successes and limitations of the Paycheck Protection Program, negotiations on the next relief package and future support that can be provided from the federal level with the local small business owners.
At the roundtable were representatives from the Wine Tap in Belleville, Seams for the Soul Boutique in Edwardsville, Precision Practice Management in Belleville and LaMay’s Catering in Godfrey.
“As our state begins the process of reopening safely, our small businesses in the Metro East and across Illinois are still feeling the economic impact of COVID-19,” Duckworth said. “I look forward to continuing to work with small-business owners to help provide more assistance from the federal level. The Paycheck Protection Program was a start, but we need to do more and I’ll keep working to make sure these business owners they have the support they need to continue to serve our local communities.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis, Duckworth said she has taken a number of actions to support small businesses. Last month she helped pass Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, a bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, allowing borrowers 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to use their loans and greater flexibility in using the funds, and also authored bipartisan legislation to prevent the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) flagship loan program from shutting down. Duckworth also joined Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass.), to announce legislation to better appropriate PPP funding targeted toward Black and brown-owned small businesses, part of which was included in the Heroes Act. Last year, Duckworth introduced the Microloan Program Expansion Act of 2019 to improve the SBA’s Microloan Program to help minority-owned small businesses that may have been overlooked by traditional commercial lenders.
PHOTO: Sen. Tammy Duckworth, left, meets with business constituents at the Wine Tap in Belleville on Friday.