President Biden introduces small business aid


President Joe Biden visited a minority-owned flooring company in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday to highlight how his $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program can help small businesses and give a face to those who have struggled throughout the pandemic.

The visit to Smith Flooring, Inc. was Biden’s first stop in an administrative roadshow across the country – also involving his vice president and wife – designed to raise awareness and take credit for the virus relief program .

It “took loud, strong voices to make this happen,” Biden said, giving Republicans a subtle dig during his visit to the little union store that will benefit from the relief. “And it’s not like he was passed with 100 votes. It’s not gone far. “

While Biden was in Pennsylvania for his first stop on the “Help is Here” tour, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff bolstered the small business theme on Tuesday with stops in Colorado.

With Harris and Emhoff taking notes at a business roundtable in Denver, Lorena Cantarovici, who started making empanadas in her garage after emigrating from Argentina, shared how her little shop has grown over the years. years in three locations Maria Empanada, but was then forced to lay off. workers when the coronavirus hit.

She said 80% of her team had come back through previous relief programs, but it could take two years to regain full capacity and “make up for all that loss.” Harris and Emhoff did their part by leaving with empanadas in tow.

Gabriela Salazar, whose Colorado Artisans represents more than 100 artisans in Denver, estimated that more than 90% of these artisans are unemployed or collectively unemployed. Salazar, a 30-year-old small business owner, told Harris that help from the Small Business Administration “has kept me afloat, but more is needed.”

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Smith Flooring employed 23 people during peak hours, but currently employs 12 people. He uses the loan to help retain workers and modernize technology. Borrowers are eligible for the rebate if they meet certain conditions, including spending at least 60% of the proceeds on salary expenses.

In his conversation with the owners of Smith Floors, Biden repeatedly asked “what else” they thought his administration should do to help businesses like theirs.

In Washington, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Isabel Guzman, Biden’s choice to head the Small Business Administration. She is expected to play a key role in the implementation of the relief bill.

Biden tries to show how the aid program will bring transformational change to the nation by halving child poverty, fueling record levels of hiring, and pumping money into parents, schools and state governments and local. It’s a dramatic turning point since the start of the Biden administration, when vaccination targets were relatively modest and Americans were warned the country might not return to normal until Christmas.

The Biden administration estimates that 400,000 small businesses have closed due to the pandemic and millions more are barely surviving. Its aid package includes a $ 28 billion grant program to support restaurants and drinking places. It also includes $ 15 billion in flexible grants.

The purpose of the visit to Smith Flooring was to make this point clear. The company saw its revenues drop by about 20% during the pandemic. He recently qualified for a federal paycheck protection program loan during a two-week window in which the Biden administration focused the program exclusively on helping businesses with 20 employees or less.

Harris also held a virtual conversation with the operators of a vaccination clinic in Fort Lupton, Colorado.

The second day of the vice president’s tour to publicize virus relief was disrupted due to a mechanical issue with the government plane that flew the vice president to Las Vegas and Los Angeles on Monday. A smaller rescue plane was dispatched to take him to Denver, relegating most of its staff, the Secret Service and a small group of journalists to fly in a cavernous cargo plane.

Due to the plane issue, Harris scratched off his plan for his visit to the vaccination clinic, Plan De Salud Del Valle Inc., and instead spoke with clinic staff on Zoom. She praised their work, noting in particular the clinic’s emphasis on helping minority communities get vaccinated.

“From the start, the President and I have made it one of our highest priorities to ensure that we consider racial disparities and that we provide the people on the ground with the resources you need to get results. fair, ”she said.

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