The Government Shutdown and Small Business

By at 24 January, 2019, 4:30 pm

Small Business Insider

By Karen Kerrigan-

It’s Day 34 of the partial government shutdown.

SBE Council continues to hear from a variety of our members whose firms are impacted by the impasse of our elected leaders. The shutdown is especially difficult for small government contractors. They are reporting that employees are actively looking for new jobs, have tapped out their business reserves or credit lines to cover payroll (in some cases, payments backlogs of two months or more are not getting processed), or are trying to figure out how they will fulfill contracts once government reopens and staff with security clearances leave for new jobs (it takes quite a while to hire people, and obtain security clearances.)

Many small business non-gov contractors are also getting squeezed. From brewers, to small businesses that use SBA surety bonds, to startups that need labeling approvals to new franchisees waiting for SBA loans, the long shutdown has moved from being an inconvenience to hardship for those whose livelihoods depend on that 25% of government that is closed.

The Senate is “prepping dueling votes” as Politico explains here for today (January 24.) Sixty votes are needed to begin debate on the proposals, the first of which is President Trump’s general proposal – $5.7 billion for border security, other appropriations to re-open affected agencies and departments, and compromises made on DACA and individuals with Temporary Protected Status.  Read the summary of the proposal, which links to full details here.

If that fails to reach 60 votes, the Senate will then move to begin debate on a short-term funding bill that reopens the government until February 8. Again, this would also need 60 votes.

Centrist Democrats are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to counter the President’s proposal with one of her own, as some are feeling the pressure to keep moving forward on negotiations and solutions, rather than just saying no.

Today, SBE Council joined a large coalition of business organizations in an Open Letter to President Trump and all Members of the United States Congress urging an immediate resolution to the partial government shutdown:

On behalf of the American business community, we urge Congress and the administration to immediately take steps to restore the full operation of the federal government…The time to act, the time to end this shutdown is now so that we can keep the economy moving forward.  

My sense is that we are nearing the end of the shutdown very soon, but not without lasting damage to many small businesses and their employees.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council


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