SEN. MICHAEL BENNET: Donald Trump left Colorado’s small businesses behind. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will put them first. 

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Colorado’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing more than one million people and serving as vital engines of economic growth. But as a result of President Trump’s failed pandemic response, small businesses are running out of cash—and running out of time.

For months, Senate Democrats have called for a bipartisan coronavirus relief package to help small business owners and workers receive desperately-needed support. Instead of working with Congress to help the American people, President Trump botched the delivery of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), allowing billions of dollars intended for small businesses to flow to large corporations and firms with connections to his own donors. Many of Colorado’s hardest-hit small businesses were left in the lurch, especially those owned by people of color.

Coloradans deserve better.

That’s why I’ve worked across the aisle to introduce the RESTART Act, the only bipartisan legislation of its kind to help small businesses hit hardest by the pandemic stay afloat through the end of the year and into 2021. The bill has 57 cosponsors—Democrats and Republicans—and would make a meaningful difference for businesses across our state.

This legislation is a start. But to fully recover from the economic crisis, we need bold leadership in the White House.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a plan to create a true small business fund by setting aside half of all new PPP funds for small businesses with 50 employees or less. Under Joe and Kamala’s watch, we’ll make sure PPP actually serves the mom-and-pop shops it was designed to help, instead of further enriching the wealthy and well-connected like it has done under Trump.

They won’t stop there. The Trump Administration’s failed recovery efforts have excluded minority-owned businesses, leaving Black, Latino, Native American, and AAPI business owners out in the cold. In contrast, Joe and Kamala will create clear provisions to ensure businesses owned by people of color access the relief they need. They’ll also create a Small Business Opportunity Fund to provide critical seed money to entrepreneurs of color and spur small business creation in communities of color.

As President Trump continues to mismanage his response to the coronavirus crisis, small businesses and working families are paying the price. More than 100,000 small businesses have shuttered, nearly a quarter are at risk of failure, and millions of Americans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Unless we act now, we’re going to see countless more small businesses in Colorado and across the country close their doors for good and never reopen, turning millions of temporary job losses into permanent ones. For business owners who have invested their savings and maxed out their credit trying to stay afloat—they’ll lose more than a job, they’ll lose their life’s work. Without urgent action, we risk profound and lasting damage to our economy.

Now more than ever, we need new leadership that will look out for the hardest-hit businesses, jump-start our economy, and get our country back on track. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are leaders Coloradans can trust to put working families and small businesses first and help us build back better.