Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick

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Fitzpatrick and Pappas Lead Bipartisan Group of 62 Lawmakers in Fighting for Relief for Local Chambers of Commerce

Apr 10, 2020
Press Release
Despite the pivotal role that local chambers are playing in helping small businesses to navigate the current economic downturn, local chambers are ineligible for federal relief due to 501(c)(6) classification

LANGHORNE, PA- Today, April 10th, Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) led a group of 62 lawmakers in calling on the House leadership to make local chambers of commerce and similar organizations that assist small businesses eligible for direct federal assistance. 

Local chambers of commerce across America are providing critical guidance and resources to help small businesses weather the current economic downturn. Unfortunately, many local chambers are now experiencing their own serious financial challenges. However, these organizations are currently ineligible for relief through the Payroll Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans. In their letter, the Members of Congress urge the House leadership to include language in the next coronavirus relief package to enable chambers and similar small organizations to participate in these critical programs.    

“Unfortunately, just like the small businesses they serve, many local chambers are now experiencing their own financial challenges. If these organizations are unable to survive, the path to recovery for our hard-hit Main Street economy will be even more difficult,” the lawmakers wrote.  “To help local chambers meet their current obligations and continue assisting small businesses in our communities, we strongly believe that Congress should ensure these organizations are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and allow them to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE or below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Chair Velázquez, and Ranking Member Chabot:       

We appreciate your leadership in providing unprecedented resources for American small businesses through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136). Unfortunately, local chambers of commerce, which play a crucial role in sustaining our Main Street economy, are ineligible for assistance through the lending programs included in this legislation. Given the severe financial difficulties that many of these organizations are now confronting, we ask that you include language in the next coronavirus relief bill to enable local chambers and other 501(c)(6) organizations that support the needs of our local businesses to access direct federal aid.

Chambers of commerce are non-profit, tax-exempt organizations that bring together business leaders in our communities, helping them to negotiate shared challenges and promote local economic development.  At this exceptionally difficult time for our Main Street economy, local chambers are providing critical guidance and resources to help small businesses weather the current economic downturn, including urgently-needed assistance in obtaining loans and grant funding from the federal government. 

Unfortunately, just like the small businesses they serve, many local chambers are now experiencing their own financial challenges.  If these organizations are unable to survive, the path to recovery for our hard-hit Main Street economy will be even more difficult.  To help local chambers meet their current obligations and continue assisting small businesses in our communities, we strongly believe that Congress should ensure these organizations are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and allow them to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Again, we believe the CARES Act will make a significant positive difference in our communities.  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. We are grateful for your attention to this request and appreciate your diligent and committed work during this crisis.

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