Chamber Members:

We’re here on Thursday so that usually means employment reports, but we’re going to hold that off for another day. Today we have some info on additional federal aid legislation, a new grant opportunity, and travel forecasts. In addition, an apology for talking about PPP forgiveness info being attached to the email yesterday and then not attaching it. It is attached this time around.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Latest on Relief Discussions
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday shot down the prospect of a coronavirus deal totaling between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion — the goalposts of the current talks between Democrats and the White House.

McConnell’s comments, made to reporters in Kentucky, underscore the divisions between President Trump and Senate Republicans on a fifth coronavirus package, with the GOP leader preparing to force a vote on a $500 billion bill next week.

“I don’t think so. That’s where the administration is willing to go. My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go,” McConnell said, asked about the prospect of a deal totally between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion.

McConnell added that while a reporter was correct that there are negotiations ongoing between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House about the higher price range, “that’s not what I’m going to put on the floor.” McConnell’s comments come as President Trump signaled on Thursday that he was willing to go higher than $1.8 trillion in negotiations with Democrats.

“Absolutely, I would. I would pay more. I would go higher. Go big or go home, I said it yesterday. Go big or go home,” Trump said during a phone interview on Fox Business on Thursday morning. But McConnell is set to put a substantially smaller bill on the floor next week.

The GOP plan, which McConnell has said will be around $500 billion, will include another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, money for testing and hospitals, and protections for businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Additional Legislation on Relief
Thanks to Congresswoman Underwood’s office for an update on some Federal Bills that are a part of a comprehensive Covid-19 relief package. A fact sheet on the updated HEROES Act can be found as an attachment to this email as well as information regarding state and local funding. These documents cover the paired down version that was voted on in the House earlier this month.
·         H.R.7642 – Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act This bill requires the Department of the Treasury to provide grants and other forms of emergency assistance to certain providers of transportation services that have experienced a significant revenue loss as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.
·         H.R. 7806 – Save our Stages (SOS) Act  This bill authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make grants to eligible live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain live venues.
·         H.R. 7197 – Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act of 2020 This bill temporarily establishes and provides funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, from which the Department of the Treasury shall make grants to eligible food and beverage purveyors to cover specified costs.
·         H.R. 7481 – Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act This bill establishes a loan program whereby the Small Business Administration (SBA) shall guarantee loan amounts to certain businesses affected by COVID-19. Specifically, the bill requires the SBA to guarantee 100% of program loan amounts made to certain small businesses that have not more than 5,000 full-time employees.

Comcast Announces Grant and Additional Business Aid
Comcast Corporation has launched Comcast RISE, an initiative created to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19. The Comcast RISE program will help thousands of small businesses over the next three years.

The multi-faceted program offers grants, marketing, and technology upgrades, including media campaigns and connectivity, computer, and voice equipment, as well as free marketing insights to all applicants.

U.S. small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the number of U.S. active business owners dropped from 15 million to 11.7 million from February to April. The study cited that Black-owned small businesses were hardest hit, suffering the steepest decline (41 percent), followed by Hispanic and Asian American-owned small businesses.

The program will roll out in waves, and starting today, U.S.-based Black-owned small businesses can apply for marketing and technology support and equipment to jumpstart and help them sustain business operations. In addition, all small businesses can sign up for free marketing insights and resources. The next wave of the program will open up eligibility to include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), those next hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic.

Comcast decided to launch Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” to help the hardest-hit small business owners get a fresh start and boost their operations during this difficult time. Comcast RISE brings together two of the company’s brands —Comcast Business and Effectv, both with expertise in the small business space — to help empower business owners with the tools, expertise and resources needed to navigate the economic effects of the pandemic.

Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched this summer. In June, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multiyear plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

In the future, the program aims to expand to other small and diverse business owners. Visit for more information on eligibility requirements, and the latest updates.

Some OFFICE (tv show) Humor
The Party Planning Committee will be in Philadelphia this evening, NOT to be confused with The Committee to Plan Parties’ Miami programming.

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are hosting competing town hall events tonight, in lieu of the second presidential debate that had been scheduled for tonight.

United CEO: Business Travel Demand Won’t Return to Normal Until 2024
United Airlines says a recovery in air travel is “now visible on the horizon,” but the destination is still a long way off. CEO Scott Kirby told investors this morning that he doesn’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine—which is the key to a full rebound in air travel demand—to be widely available until “the end of next year.”

While he “sees light at the end of the tunnel,” Kirby acknowledged, “it’s a long way away.” Airline executives also said they don’t expect business-travel demand, which is crucial to United’s financial health, to recover until August 2024.

After reducing headcount by about 24 percent, eliminating 22,000 jobs through layoffs and voluntary departures, Kirby and his team say they’ve reached “a turning point” and are focused on recovery, not reductions.

Candidates Forum
Next Thursday, the 22nd of October, the Chamber will host a Candidates forum with 12 invited. The following offices have been invited – US Congress District 11, Illinois Senate Dist. 43, Illinois Senate Dist. 49, Illinois House Dist. 37, Illinois House Dist. 97, and Will County Executive. More information to follow, but you can mark down 3:00 PM on this date.

Finally, please join the Joliet Chamber, Megan Millen – City Center Partnership Board Chair, and Rod Tonelli – City Center Partnership Economic Development Chair, for a HYBRID luncheon on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 11:30 AM to discuss:

  • City Center Partnership Overview
  • Downtown Development Project Updates
  • Review of Downtown Grants and Impacts
  • Preview of some of the exciting things coming to Downtown

Guests will have the opportunity to attend in-person (limited to 50 guests) or virtually via You can register here:

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct