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Rep. Cisneros Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Expand PPP and Protect Local Chambers and Other Non-Prof

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May 06, 2020
Rep. Cisneros Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Expand PPP and Protect Local Chambers and Other Non-Profits
 
Legislation endorsed by CA-39 Chambers of Commerce, U.S. Chambers of Commerce, and more
 
Fullerton, CA - Today, Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Chris Pappas (D-PA-01), and Greg Steube (R-FL-17) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure local chambers of commerce and other nonprofits who support small businesses can receive the federal assistance they need to weather this economic downturn while they continue working to help America’s Main Street businesses. Like the businesses they serve, many local chambers, tourism-related organizations, and other 501(c)(6) nonprofits are now experiencing their own financial challenges brought on by COVID-19. These organizations are not currently eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to get financial support. The Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act would expand PPP eligibility to include 501(c)(6) organizations with 300 or fewer employees to ensure they can continue supporting our main street businesses and local economies.
 
“Our local chambers in the 39th District are at the forefront of helping our small businesses weather this storm. However, they’ve also been reeling from the effects of the coronavirus and are in desperate need of relief,” said Rep. Cisneros. “I’m proud to join my Republican and Democratic colleagues in introducing the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act. This bipartisan bill ensures that our chambers and trade groups can access PPP and continue to provide much-needed assistance to our communities.”
 
“The Brea Chamber of Commerce is grateful to Congressman Cisneros for his recognition of the work Chambers of Commerce do in our local communities. Chambers are the magicians of Main Street and provide the leadership needed to facilitate positive economic growth. Small businesses across America count on their local chamber for resources, education, and support,” said Heidi L. Gallegos, IOM, President & CEO of the Brea Chamber of Commerce. “Chambers across the County have been hard hit and have suffered severe financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge Congress to extend assistance to Chambers of Commerce so they may be eligible for the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act. “

“As businesses begin to think about getting back to business, it’s more important than ever that Chambers continue to do their job to promote small businesses. Chambers of commerce and tourism agencies locally and across America continue to provide critical guidance and resources to serve the community during the current downturn. Unfortunately, just like the businesses we serve, chambers of commerce, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and other 501(c)(6) nonprofits are now experiencing their own financial challenges. However, these organizations are currently ineligible for the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Theresa Harvey, President & CEO of the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce. “To ensure that employees at local chambers of commerce, DMOs, and other 501(c)(6) organizations that support our economy during the anticipated recovery and continue to provide assistance to our small businesses, it’s important to expand the Paycheck Protection Program to include local chambers, DMOs, and other 501(c)(6)s. The North Orange County Chamber of Commerce is grateful for this bipartisan bill, the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act.”

“There are over 6,500 Chambers of Commerce and other 501(c)(6) organizations in the U.S. Over 250 of those are Hispanic Chambers who work in low to moderate income communities that have been the most impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic. PPP funding for Chambers would help them retain key personnel who provide crucial services for our small businesses,” said Reuben Franco, President & CEO of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Over the past six weeks we have been working day and night to educate businesses on how they can navigate the coronavirus crisis. We have heard stories from businesses across our service area that have shared the devastating impacts the pandemic has had on their businesses and their livelihoods. They turn to Chambers of Commerce to support them in their efforts to keep their businesses alive. Chambers across the country are also devastated,” said Zeb Welborn, President of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The impact Chambers of Commerce has made over the past 7 weeks is monumental. Not supporting our local chambers will have a severely negative impact on our communities. Please give Chambers the opportunity to continue supporting our business communities to ensure we can come out of this crisis bigger, better and stronger.”

“Our chamber is the backbone of the small businesses in our community.  Over the past 6 weeks most of the time spent in our office has been to gather and impart information regarding COVID-19’s impact on our businesses and community to make sure our members are educated and up to date on information that matters to them.  It baffles me that an organization that represents the businesses who are directly impacted by the lockdown regulations is excluded from any financial assistance,” said Michele Severson, Executive Director of the Placentia Chamber of Commerce. “We, at the Placentia Chamber of Commerce, ask that 501(c)(6) corporations be included in organizations that are eligible for receiving PPP funding.  Our chamber, as with most chambers, relies heavily on income from new members (no one is joining right now), renewals (many of which are being deferred) and from events which have been zero the past two months.  We are currently meeting payroll with our reserves, which are quickly dwindling”

“Chambers of Commerce are vital for the vibrancy of our local economies. We have been instrumental in our community on the delivery of the proper communication regarding our current Public Health Orders,” said Susan Wan-Ross, CEO/Executive Director of Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce. “Without Chamber of Commerce support – businesses would be in a tougher situation. It’s important that Chambers of Commerce and other 501(c)(6) organizations be included in the PPP, as we are the behind the scenes workforce, advocating for our local businesses to keep the economy strong.”

“The Regional Chamber of Commerce San Gabriel Valley has been working with small businesses throughout this pandemic. They’re the backbone of our local economies and communities. While we have tried to provide a support system for our business community, we are also experiencing the devastating effects from the coronavirus,” said Anthony Duarte, CEO of Regional Chamber of Commerce - San Gabriel Valley. “We are also in need of assistance and we are grateful Rep. Cisneros has worked across the aisle to introduce this important bill to expand PPP to chambers and other non-profit organizations. This will go a long way in helping the Regional Chamber of Commerce San Gabriel Valley so we can continue to support our staff and do our work effectively.”

“Our local chambers, associations, and non-profits will continue to play an instrumental role in ensuring our Main Street businesses and regional economies will be able to weather this storm,” said Congressman Pappas. “This bipartisan legislation will expand crucial federal assistance, already available to small businesses, to the groups whose mission is to support them. It is going to take all of us doing our part to get American’s back to work. We will continue to work across the aisle to introduce common sense legislation to ensure that happens.”
“Our local chambers of commerce, and other regional and state 501(c)6 organizations, play a vital role in our communities and have been assisting our small businesses as they navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, these organizations, whose assistance will be crucial to our communities’ local economic recovery efforts in the coming months, were left out of the original CARES Act package. I am proud to continue to lead this bipartisan effort with Congressman Pappas to protect our local economies and create a path to recovery for Main Street America,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick.
 
“We have a responsibility to ensure that local chambers of commerce and nonprofits are empowered to fill their important role in our small business communities as they have before the COVID-19 pandemic. This bipartisan legislation will help small business owners address their unique problems with local resources and provide a support system that will continue to serve our communities long after this crisis subsides,” said Congressman Steube.
 
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased to support the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Local chambers of commerce across the country play a vital role in assisting local businesses weathering the economic storm caused by the coronavirus. Including these organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program ensures they can continue with this important work in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to work with Representatives Pappas, Fitzpatrick, and other members of Congress to include local chambers in this important program.”
 
“The PPP eligibility needs to be expanded to destination marketing organizations—no matter how they’re structured—because they will be essential engines of the economic recovery,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “We thank Congressman Pappas and Congressman Fitzpatrick for having the vision to take on this critical issue, and we urge congressional leaders to enact this bill as quickly as possible.”
 
This legislation has been endorsed by several CA-39 Chambers of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR).
 
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