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$50 billion RELIEF for Main Street Act would create Small Business Local Relief Fund to help small businesses that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic

New legislation introduced in response to stories from Washington state small business owners, including many frozen out of previous federal relief funding 

ICYMI: During a series of roundtable phone meetings with local small business owners…Senator Murray discussed the coronavirus’ impact on Eastern Washington and what she’s doing to help — MORE HERE

NEW: Mayors from Washington state, nationwide urge Congress to include legislation in next federal relief package – MORE HERE  

Senator Murray: “As Congress moves forward on another round of critical relief legislation, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure workers and the smallest businesses in Washington state and around the nation are getting the federal assistance they need to withstand this crisis”

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined a group of her colleagues in introducing the RELIEF for Main Street Act, a bipartisan, bicameral small business relief plan for the country during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“The federal government has a responsibility during this unprecedented emergency to help bridge the gap for the businesses on Main Street that fuel our local communities and economy,” said Senator Murray. “As Congress moves forward on another round of critical relief legislation, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure workers and the smallest businesses in Washington state and around the nation are getting the federal assistance they need to withstand this crisis.”

The proposal, which was formally introduced in the Senate yesterday, would provide $50 billion to seed and scale local relief efforts emerging in cities and towns in Washington state and across the country, targeted toward businesses with fewer than 20 workers or businesses with fewer than 50 workers located in low-income neighborhoods. 

Such localized efforts, which operate outside of banking channels and provide flexible funding, are proving to be a critical lifeline for small businesses in rural areas and urban corridors across the country. But they are massively oversubscribed; in Washington state, more than 26,000 businesses have applied for state grants to assist businesses with up to 10 employees. 

Additionally, today the legislation was endorsed by 100 mayors across the country, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and 25 other mayors from Washington state. In a letter to Congressional leaders, the 100 mayors urged swift action to include the proposal in the next Congressional relief package.

“By empowering local leaders to administer flexible relief funds, and by targeting funding to only the smallest of businesses, the Small Business Local Relief Program will provide immediate support to those less likely to benefit from existing programs, including very small, minority-owned, and rural businesses,” the mayors wrote in a letter to House and Senate leadership. “The proposal builds on what is already working.”

Senator Murray has consistently worked to support small businesses in Washington state and across the country during this crisis. Recently in April, she spoke with small business owners across the state to hear about the challenges they’re facing, especially in accessing existing aid programs, and she helped to secure more than $380 billion in small business relief funding in the most recent coronavirus relief package, including $60 billion in PPP funding to specifically serve the needs of underserved small businesses and nonprofits—especially rural, minority, and women-owned businesses.

For a list of co-sponsors and specifics on the RELIEF for Main Street Act, including the Small Business Local Relief Fund, read a breakdown of the bill HERE.

Read the bill text HERE.

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