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PRESS CONTACTS: Alia El-Assar | Susana Flores | Fernanda Durand |

U.S. Sens. Rubio, Cardin, Durbin, and U.S. Rep. Velázquez Share Remarks with Thousands of Small Business Owners, Nonprofit Leaders, and Workers on Webinar on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’s “Paycheck Protection Program” The CARES Act provides $2 trillion in relief, including $377 billion for small businesses, nonprofits and their workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, nearly 5,000 small business owners, nonprofit leaders, and workers across the nation joined a webinar titled “What the Stimulus Package Means for Small Businesses & Nonprofits” on federal relief available through the “Paycheck Protection Program” of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. The webinar, hosted by the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), National Restaurant Association, Illinois Restaurant Association, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), featured remarks and statements from U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL)Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY). The webinar powerpoint can be accessed here.

“I want to thank John Rowe and the American Business Immigration Coalition for focusing on this part of our bill that helps small business,” said U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, in a video message to attendees. “Our biggest challenge now is letting small businesses know that this exists and how it works and our hope here is to protect the paychecks of millions of Americans during this very difficult and unusual time.”

“We all have to work together to get through this crisis. And in this bill is bipartisan legislation with new tools to help small businesses get through this economic crisis,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin in remarks via video. “Small businesses are the engines of our economy and we want to make sure they are taken care of.”

U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez, who as Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee was essential to the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program in the Phase 3 of the CARES Act, shared a statement in lieu of her presence on the webinar after testing positive for COVID-19 the day before: “If I have taken anything away from my decades of leadership on the Small Business Committee it is this—small businesses are resilient, hardworking, and get the job done. During these difficult times especially, I want you to know that we have your back and we will continue to fight for federal relief to defeat this crisis.”

“The CARES Act is historic in its scope and size, and will thankfully provide much-needed financial relief to workers, families, and business owners. It goes to show what can be achieved when Congress works together on a bipartisan basis,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip our nation, we must continue to work together to keep our small businesses afloat and working families strong during this challenging time.”

The Paycheck Protection Program of CARES Act, which was approved last Friday and signed into law by President Trump on the same afternoon, was one of the few provisions in the $2 trillion stimulus package that was able to garner overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and among diverse community organizations and business associations.

The restaurant industry welcomed the program as providing much needed relief for restaurateurs and workers across the U.S. “The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit as a result of the coronavirus. As an industry that employs one out of every ten workers, we need a federal response to a federal crisis,” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association. “We will continue our efforts with the Illinois Restaurant Association on behalf of our industry, it’s 15.6 million employees, and its critical connection to every local community.”

“Ten percent of Americans work for restaurants and the hospitality industry. Our workers and teammates are not like family, they are family,” stated Sam Toia, President and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association and ABIC member. “With restaurants shutting their doors every day and thousands of workers losing their only source of income, I applaud Chairman Rubio and Chairwoman Velazquez for achieving real relief for all restaurants, our workers and our family. I look forward to working with our partners, champions and the Small Business Administration to get cash quickly to pay our workers and keep businesses open.”

“We were disappointed that immigrants were excluded in many ways from the CARES legislation. This includes the economic benefits that will stabilize families and we believe the almost suicidal exclusion of immigrants from the COVID testing and treatment in this pandemic,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director, Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), and NPNA Board Co-Chair. “But we are very proud of the bi-partisan and bi-cameral leadership in the Senate and House on the small business and nonprofit support, and we thank them for their work. The small business relief provisions are written to be useful and inclusive of small businesses of many types; of the workers who work for them, many of whom are immigrants; and of the nonprofits who serve our communities. NPNA looks forward to working diligently with the Small Business Administration to assist with the implementation of this program.”

In sections led by Anna Morzy, Shareholder and Partner at Greenberg Traurig LLP and ABIC MemberIrakere Picon, Director of Legal Services at ABIC; and Renee Bender, Senior Professional Staff and Implementation Expert with the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, the webinar included a detailed discussion of the economic relief available through the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act, and provided a platform for small businesses and nonprofits to learn about the eligibility requirements for the, and ways in which they can prepare in anticipation of the release of the relief funds.

“The work that Senators Rubio and Cardin and Representative Velázquez have done for small businesses and their workers is heroic. Thank you for caring for the nation. Thank you for caring for those put out of work. And thank you for caring for the immigrant entrepreneurs and workers that are pillars of our communities and economy,” said John Rowe, Chairman Emeritus of Exelon and ABIC Co-Chair.

“The priority for the upcoming months for ABIC is to ensure a successful and smooth implementation so as to get the $377 billion in relief to the small businesses, nonprofits and workers who need it the most. To this end, we need your engagement and participation,” said Sam Scott, Retired CEO of Corn Products International (Ingredion Inc.) and ABIC Co-Chair.

We extend our deepest gratitude to all the small business champions in Congress, and wish a speedy recovery to Rep. Velázquez as she self-quarantines following a presumed positive COVID-19 test this week.

The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes commonsense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides American companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens.

The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a national, multiethnic, multiracial partnership of 35 immigrants and refugee rights organizations across 37 states, that work to promote citizenship and integration among our diverse immigrant and refugee communities for the benefit of all Americans.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.3 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We sponsor the industry’s largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart). For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The IRA owns and produces Chicago Gourmet – the annual food and wine festival uniting hundreds of restaurants, chefs and beverage experts for a weekend filled with food and drink tastings, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, book signings, interactive seminars and more. The Association is also a proud co-host of the James Beard Foundation Awards, which will be held in Chicago through 2027.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Founded in 1946 as the Florida Restaurant Association, FRLA merged with the Florida Hotel and Motel Association in 2006. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s $111.7 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of the membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected.