Congressman Fred Keller sends letter to House leadership urging small business relief in Phase 3 COVID-19 response package

March 19, 2020
Press Release
Notes relief should be immediate to offset income loss and added costs due to Coronavirus

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) on Wednesday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging them to include significant and immediate small business relief in any Phase 3 COVID-19 response package.


“A recent survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses conveyed that 23 percent of its small business members have already experienced a negative impact due to the Coronavirus and that an additional 43 percent expect to see negative effects on their businesses going forward,” the letter reads in part. “As you know, this is a critical issue for many business owners and their employees, especially small businesses. Congress needs to properly balance the need to protect public health while limiting financial strain on our small businesses.”


Anticipated Phase 3 legislative relief is expected to follow the first two phases of Congress’s response to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.


Phase 1 addressed the immediate public health and safety concerns caused by COVID-19. The $8.3 billion legislative package focused on the healthcare aspects of COVID-19 and included money for testing, vaccine development, therapeutics, personal protective equipment, state and local government response efforts, and mitigation of the disease abroad.


Phase 2 is the $2.5 billion stimulus effort that passed Congress Wednesday.. The package includes relief for families and individuals who might need to take paid leave from work in order to care for themselves or family members while providing tax credits to small businesses, boosts unemployment compensation funding for those who may be laid off as a result of COVID-19’s economic impacts, increases funding to low-income nutrition assistance programs, and provides flexibility to child nutrition programs. 


Phase 3, which is currently being negotiated in Congress, will include economic relief for businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.


According to Congressman Keller, that must also include expedited help for small businesses.


“As Congress considers ‘Phase 3’ economic relief and any additional packages, it is important that the legislation provide immediate relief to small businesses to offset added costs and loss of income due to the Coronavirus,” Congressman Keller writes in the letter.


This week, Congressman Keller has visited with local healthcare providers across central and northeast Pennsylvania, including UPMC Williamsport and Endless Mountains Health System in Montrose, to discuss local preparedness for COVID-19 and to highlight the federal response to the outbreak.


The local providers said that they are ready to test and treat patients, encouraged individuals with symptoms to call their doctor and see if a test is warranted, and to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 


Yesterday, Congressman Keller joined the entire Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation urging the Small Business Administration to approve the disaster declaration submitted by Gov. Tom Wolf to open up small business loans.