U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) led a bipartisan group of 62 lawmakers in requesting federal relief eligibility for local chambers of commerce, which continue helping small businesses navigate the current economic downturn spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, local chambers are experiencing their own financial challenges, but are ineligible for relief through the Payroll Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which are lending programs included in the recently signed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to an April 10 letter Rep. Fitzpatrick, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), and others sent to their chamber’s leaders.

“If these organizations are unable to survive, the path to recovery for our hard-hit Main Street economy will be even more difficult,” the members wrote.

Rep. Fitzpatrick and the lawmakers requested that the next coronavirus relief package include language to enable chambers and other similar organizations to participate in the CARES Act lending programs.

“We believe the CARES Act will make a significant positive difference in our communities,” the congressmen wrote. “However, to ensure that local chambers of commerce can continue to support small businesses at this precarious moment for our country, we are hopeful that you will take action to enable chambers of commerce and other 501(c)(6) organizations that support the needs of our local businesses to receive direct federal support through the initiatives in this legislation.”

###