AUDIO: Bustos Hosts Latino and Black Small Business Roundtables with Chairwoman Velazquez and Whip Jim Clyburn

Local chambers of commerce, small business owners and other stakeholders discuss available resources and overcoming challenges unique to each community

WASHINGTON – This week, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) hosted virtual small business assistance roundtables for Latino and Black small business owners from across the region to provide resources to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss how to navigate relief programs at the state and federal level.

Congresswoman Bustos was joined by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Chair of the House Small Business Committee, and House Majority Whip Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC-06), who helped craft legislation passed by Congress to assist small businesses in response to this public health crisis. Representatives from the Small Business Administration and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also participated to share insight and resources.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and we have to provide them as much support as possible to get through these difficult times – especially for those hit the hardest,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “In Congress, I’ve worked to pass legislation that puts our workers, families and small businesses first and I thank everyone who joined today’s roundtable discussions to ask questions, share experiences and gather information about assistance available to them. As we look ahead, it’s conversations like these that inform future legislation. I thank Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez and the highest ranking African American Congressman in American history, Jim Clyburn for listening to the experiences of hardworking Illinoisans. If you are a small business in need of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office.”

Click HERE for audio.

The following guests participated in the event with Congresswoman Bustos to provide further information on available resources:

  • Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Chair of the House Small Business Committee
  • Congressman Jim Clyburn, House Majority Whip
  • Bo Steiner, District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Illinois Office
  • Jonathan McGee, Acting Deputy Director of Regional Economic Development for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Michael Negron, Assistant Director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity


In March, Congresswoman Bustos helped pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provided tax credits to small employers to help when employees had to take time off. Next, she helped pass the CARES Act to provide more than $376 billion in relief support, established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and provided additional grants and benefits to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Then in April, she helped pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which added an additional $310 billion for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

It also set aside $60 billion for banks and credit unions, including funding for Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and microlenders. An additional $10 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grant program and $50 billion for existing and new SBA Borrowers were also included.

Finally, in May, she helped pass the Heroes Act which would improve the Paycheck Protection Program, set aside 25% of PPP funds for businesses with less than 10 employees, establish funds for small Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Development Institutions (MDIs), SBA microlenders and SBA Certified Development Companies (CDCs). It also would provide an additional $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and boost the SBA microloan program with an additional $72 million.