Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee, led by Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), held its annual “Member Day” hearing. The hearing featured testimony from members of Congress regarding the issues that are impacting small businesses in their home districts. During the hearing, members focused on topics related to the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and how Congress can support small firms.
“Today is a chance for the Committee to hear directly from our fellow members of Congress about their priorities for supporting programs and policies that promote small business creation and growth,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Last year was a pivotal moment across our country and we all experienced – and still are because the pandemic is not over – something unprecedented. Our nation’s entrepreneurs closed more doors in 2020 than any other year on record. But, Congress was able to save many due to bipartisan work by this Committee to provide over 1 trillion dollars in relief.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) testified on the urgent need to appropriate more funding for the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
“There is nothing more central to communities large and small than their local restaurants. From first-time job holders to classically trained chefs, restaurants support an array of workers at every stage of their career,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “They are integral to each of our congressional districts and they are still hurting. One or two good months doesn’t make up for more than a year of losses or protect these jobs. It is critical that this Committee quickly come together to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Without it, many of our beloved institutions will be lost forever.”
Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) testified on COVID’s lingering impact on Hawaiian small businesses that rely on tourism and the need for additional assistance for many entrepreneurs.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawai‘i had 135,567 small businesses, roughly one business for every ten people. Although it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of small businesses we lost due to the pandemic, late last year Yelp estimated that well over a thousand businesses in Hawai‘i permanently closed because of the pandemic,” said Rep. Case. “Sadly this includes Hawai‘i institutions with long roots in the community, like Loves Bakery, Likelike Drive-in, and many more. This impact would have been significantly worse if it wasn’t for the decisive action taken by this Committee.”