Press Releases

Ranking Member Chabot Opening Statement at Hearing on Coronavirus Impact on Small Business

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Washington, March 10, 2020 | comments

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business met for a hearing titled, “The Impact of Coronavirus on America’s Small Businesses.”  Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) delivered the following opening statement:

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, for calling this hearing and for your early leadership on this issue.   On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, “a public health emergency of international concern.”  On January 31st, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency.  Undoubtedly, this virus is having an immediate and tangible impact on our nation.

In recent weeks it has become obvious that our economy is not immune to the effects of the virus. We must summon the full capacity of the U.S. government to scale up our resources to overcome the worst-case scenarios of a coronavirus pandemic.

Diseases do not know borders, and COVID-19 is no exception. Over the past few months, global leaders have been ramping up efforts to improve international information sharing and cooperation.

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Global Health Security Act, a bipartisan bill I introduced along with Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly.  This bill strengthens our commitment to leadership on global health security and puts in place necessary personnel and systems to respond to pandemics like the coronavirus.

As the coronavirus spreads in the United States, the entire public health system must be operating at maximum capacity to combat this threat. 

Since 2015, Congress has made strategic investments in public health resources; we increased the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by 39 percent and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding by 24 percent.

To minimize the impact of COVID-19, it is important to adhere to guidance provided by public health experts, whether it’s from the CDC or our neighborhood healthcare professionals.

Five days ago, Congress passed an emergency funding bill to support the Administration’s efforts in addressing COVID-19.  It authorized $20 million to fund Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) serviced by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Office of Disaster Assistance, which leads the federal government’s long-term economic recovery efforts. 

The SBA’s Disaster Loan Program provides numerous direct loan options for disaster victims, including EIDLs, which provide working capital to small businesses affected by disasters to keep them afloat until they can resume normal operations. 

In this Committee, we will continue to consider any proposed assistance strategies to counter the negative economic impact of COVID-19 on America’s small businesses.

Thank you to our witnesses for taking the time out of their busy schedules to take part in today’s hearing.  Public feedback is crucial as we determine our next steps.

I yield back.

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