Chamber Members:

Today is the last Monday of 2020 – kind of hard to believe that even with everything that has gone on, that we’re already wrapping up the year. Some days have been a blur, while others seem like 29 hours that will never end.

In addition to the obvious Christmas celebrations over the last few days, cause for further celebration came last night. President Trump, after much uncertainty, signed the bill to prevent a government shutdown and approved the $900 billion federal aid package. Although the calls to veto it or let it run its course without approval were loud and the bill doesn’t include a larger personal stimulus check, it is deeply needed relief at this time. Yes, the funding bill does include a long list of “pork projects,” but this is not anything new. It is a tradeoff necessary to getting our businesses the needed support they deserve! More on how this situation developed and ended last night with a surprise signature, as well as additional information is below.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Surprise! We Have a Signature
Here are the possible scenarios that everyone was following and guessing which would ring true once session resumed this week. In the end, the easiest played out although it was certainly a surprise to many.

  • Scenario 1: The House and Senate pass a measure to boost stimulus checks to Trump’s proposed $2,000, and Trump signs the bill.
  • Scenario 2: Trump pocket-vetoes the bill while Congress is adjourned by letting 10 days pass without signing it. Trump did say in March 2018 he would never sign a big spending bill again. A pocket veto can’t be overridden and would lead to a government shutdown: Funding runs out on Monday, Dec. 28.
  • Scenario 3: Trump vetoes the bill. Congress overrides the veto and passes the bill when they gather this week to take up the defense authorization bill,
  • Scenario 4: Congress sends Trump a stopgap spending bill to avoid a shutdown. The new Congress, along with the Biden administration, passes a new bill. This would keep the government funded, but expanded unemployment and other benefits would lapse until a new bill was signed.
  • Scenario 5: Trump signs the bill. Whatever his motives, Trump has made idle veto threats in the past. This time around, although he never threatened to veto the bill, he did plenty of tweeting hammering the contents of it. After days of commenting on the disgrace of those contents, he surprisingly signed off and went with this very scenario late Sunday night.

The delay in signing the bill from Thursday to Sunday means that two pandemic-related unemployment programs were allowed to expire on Saturday night. Gig workers and those who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits will lose a week of benefits. By waiting until Sunday to approve the package, Trump cost as many as 14 million Americans.

Those on regular unemployment benefits will see a delay in getting the extra $300 federal supplemental benefit in the bill, and the duration of the benefit will be cut short. The $600 stimulus checks which sparked Trump’s objection were to go out this week, a timetable that the delay has put into question.

This week the House and Senate are staging votes to override Trump’s veto last week of the annual defense authorization bill. The effort has a good chance of succeeding and creating the first veto override of Trump’s presidency.

In a statement, the president called on Congress to remove what he called wasteful spending in the bill and said he would send lawmakers a list of provisions he wants eliminated—an effort that Democrats said they will block. President Trump said he would use the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to temporarily freeze funding. The law allows Mr. Trump to send a proposal to lawmakers to rescind certain funds, which then freezes those funds for a maximum of 45 days, counted in a way that takes into account when Congress is in session, according to the Congressional Research Service. The 45-day clock will start when Congress begins its new session on Jan. 3.

The President is unlikely to be able to use the law to permanently hold up those funds, particularly since President-elect Joe Biden will soon be inaugurated. A Democratic aide said that the House will ignore Mr. Trump’s request to rescind funding.

The President also said he expects Congress to vote on separate legislation to increase direct payments to $2,000. The House was already planning to vote on such a bill on Monday. House Democratic leaders said they would win approval of a measure approving $2,000 direct payments to eligible individuals and their families, putting pressure on Senate GOP leaders to take up the bill.

The House is set to vote on the measure under the suspension of House rules that means it will need a two-thirds majority of those present for passage. The two-thirds majority is a heavy lift since many Republicans are lining up against the bill despite President Trump’s clamorous endorsement.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has been in “productive conversations” with GOP leaders, however, and is “hopeful” the measure will be approved under suspension and that a backup plan for passage won’t be needed, his office said.

President Trump said the Senate will “start the process” to vote on legislation to increase the direct payments, as well as roll back Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and investigate alleged voter fraud.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) declined to comment when asked about the legislation Mr. Trump said the Senate would consider. The Senate is slated to return on Tuesday, and Mr. McConnell will likely speak then.

“I thank the President for signing this relief into law, along with full-year government funding legislation,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement. “His leadership has prevented a government shutdown at a time when our nation could not have afforded one.”

Quick Recap of Items in the Relief Package

  • The bill extends the maximum number of weeks a person can claim unemployment benefits to 50 weeks.
  • It provides an additional $100-a-week subsidy for workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose basic unemployment benefits don’t take into account their self-employment income.
  • It also gives unemployed Americans a supplemental benefit of up to $300 a week, a cut from the previous $600 a week that was approved in April and ended in the summer.
  • The legislation extends until the end of January 2021 a federal eviction & foreclosure prohibition and provides $25 billion of assistance to tenants in arrears on their rent.
  • PPP will reopen (ends March 31 or when funds are exhausted) with the same 60/40 split on how expenses are to be used for the forgiveness to kick in with regard to payroll vs. non-payroll expense
    • 501c6 organizations are now allowed to apply
    • New dedicated revenue program for live venues
    • Food industry can ask for 3x payroll
  • Additional expense allowances have been added including software, cloud computing, HR and accounting platforms, property damage due to civil disturbance, expenditures to suppliers for contracts, PPE and other needs to comply with federal and state health and safety guidelines
  • These changes are retroactive to those who received PPP funds already and have not applied yet for the forgiveness
  • A simplified one-page document will be introduced by the SBA to apply for the forgiveness – will share that once it is posted
  • A 2nd draw is allowable for PPP funds – $2 million max amount, fewer than 300 employees, must have used up all funds from 1st round, need to show a 25% reduction in revenue from one quarter in comparison to same quarter 2019
  • Expenses paid now with PPP funds can be deducted
  • PPP, EIDL, and other grants are not taxable as income
  • EIDL Advance grant returns with funds up to $10,000 and companies that were shorted can now apply to receive the difference
  • EIDL total will not be deducted from PPP forgiveness amount
  • Additional SBA debt deferral will be extended an additional 3 months on principal and interest starting February 2021
  • Those deemed underserved and hard hit will get total 8 months deferral
  • ERTC extends thru June 30 up to 70% per employee for each quarter 1 and 2 in 2021, up from 50% in any one quarter
  • Business eligibility for ERTC expanded to business operations that are either fully or partially suspended by a COVID-19 lockdown order, or for a quarter in 2021, if gross receipts are less than 80% of gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019. Many additional businesses will be eligible for this credit due to the lowering of the bar on reduction in gross receipts (from a 50% reduction in gross receipts to a 20% reduction) compared to the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic.
  • Companies are eligible to get PPP and use ERTC at same time just can’t use to cover the same wage
  • Direct payments to individuals (adult & child) of $600 for income under $75,000/$150,000 couples
  • State and local aid deadline to spend moved from end of 2020 to end of 2021
  • $88 billion to K-12 and Higher Education w/ $10 billion to childcare funding through block grants
  • $7 billion for improved broadband
  • Five-year extension on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Visit our covid resource page for additional documents that have been added that review the relief package as well as the PPP changes in particular:

Update for Small Business Relief and New Stimulus Package
Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at 4:30 PM
Register today for this free webinar

Join Small Business Majority and the SBA Illinois District Office for a free webinar to learn more about what’s in the new relief package, including a PPP forgiveness overview, and ask questions about what this could mean for your small business.

Topics include:

  • PPP reauthorization and important changes
  • PPP Forgiveness
  • Advance grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
  • SBA Debt Relief Program
  • Additional policies and resources for small businesses

Opening the Talks on the Next Round of Covid Relief
President-Elect Biden is weighing a multibillion-dollar plan for fully reopening schools that would hinge on testing all students, teachers, and staff for Covid-19 at least once a week, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions. The proposal under consideration calls for the federal government to cover the cost of providing tests to K-12 schools throughout the country.

Such a strategy would require a sharp increase in the manufacturing of rapid tests and new lab capacity being brought online over the next several months. One person close to the deliberations pegged the cost at between $8 billion and $10 billion over an initial three-month period.

IDES Preparing to Administer New Federal COVID-19 Relief Legislation
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that it remains committed to implementing newly announced federal unemployment benefits and relief measures as quickly and effectively as possible. After nearly a week of delays, President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill, H.R. 133, on Sunday, December 27. IDES and state unemployment agencies nationwide await further U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) guidance to begin supporting claimants and are urging federal authorities to not create further hardship as a result of the president’s inaction.

Claimants are encouraged to check the IDES website and social media platforms for additional updates. The Department will share additional information as soon as it becomes available. Included in the bill were critical extensions to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Extended Benefits (EB) programs, which technically expired on December 26 because of the delay in the presidential signature.  Because of this delay, IDES and all other state unemployment agencies await guidance on how to move forward with continuing to accept and pay benefits under these programs.

In addition to guidance surrounding existing federal unemployment programs, this new legislation includes an option for states to implement the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program.  Illinois and IDES plan to adopt the MEUC program, which addresses mixed-income earners who have self-employment income but are disqualified from receiving PUA because they are eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits.  MEUC will mark the sixth federal unemployment program IDES has stood up this year.

State Need for Federal Aid
Illinois governments are now among a growing cohort of states, cities, towns, and transit agencies across the nation that face intense financial challenges and have been forced to make significant service cuts or have employed risky financial practices and built budgets on the prospect of additional assistance.

Without federal action, any economic recovery will be blunted at best, and our most vulnerable populations and lower and middle income citizens will bear the brunt of the stagnation. Further direct federal support to residents and businesses remains a critical piece of the puzzle, especially in areas under the sole purview of the federal government.

With additional support to states and municipalities, these governments can enact supplementary programs and make investments to protect the livelihoods of their residents, small businesses, human service agencies, health care organizations and others. Only with federal assistance can we ensure a robust economic recovery.

Compounding our state’s difficulties, the Illinois General Assembly has not held a session since May. Many other states used their spring sessions to enact temporary or permanent policies for remote legislation. Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker has served as the lone voice at the state level on coronavirus response and recovery. However, the Governor’s options are limited and have been widely questioned. With that said, the General Assembly needs to find a way to reconvene in order to address the many issues left on the table in May.

A bill introduced to the General Assembly (HB 5868) this week to allow for emergency-situation remote legislating is highly encouraging, if long overdue, and should be taken up as soon as possible.

What Happened to All of Those Antibody Treatments
Doses of monoclonal antibodies—Covid-19 therapies authorized for emergency use last month—are sitting unused in hospital pharmacies, even as cases surge across the country.

Hospitals say the rollout of the therapies has been stunted by a lukewarm response from infectious-disease specialists, who say they want more clinical trial data before using them on a regular basis. Medical centers are also grappling with a lack of awareness and interest from both the primary-care doctors who would normally prescribe the drug and patients who are offered it. And some places are dealing with a shortage of space and staff to administer the therapies.

When monoclonal antibody therapies from Eli Lilly & Co. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. were approved for emergency use in November, health agencies were worried there wouldn’t be enough supply to meet demand. Now, health-care providers are administering just 20% of the doses they receive each week, according to officials with Operation Warp Speed, the federal initiative to support development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for Covid-19.

Program Notices & Reminders
U.S. Chamber Guide to New Pandemic Relief Package
How Do These Changes Impact My Existing PPP Loan? 
I Exhausted My Initial PPP Loan, How Does This Help Me? 
What If I Never Received a PPP Loan? 
Which Changes to Other Programs That May Help My Small Business Have Been Changed? 

Here is the link to the Monday 12/21 update that contained full information on the relief package:

SBDC at JJC Update
21 Topics in 21 Minutes for 2021 Growth
Date: Scheduled one-on-one session
In less than 30 minutes, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Joliet Junior College will help you prioritize key 2021 business plans whether it is for your people, your product, your marketing, your sales, your money, or the impact of this crisis. In this short, one-on-one exercise, we will help you determine up to three of the biggest opportunities for growth in the year ahead. We will offer no-cost tools to develop your strategy for success in those areas. Email us at and we will send you a link for registration.

Selling for Non-Salespeople
Date: 1/7/21 Time: 2pm
Is your B2B product or service really awesome – BUT – you aren’t confident in your ability to sell it? Most of us feel like introverts at times, but you can join us for a simple session to act like an extrovert. Hear tips on how to do the prospecting, presenting, and closing to help you get new customers to say YES! Join Mike Wilczynski for the no-cost webinar by registering at:

Starting Your Business in Illinois
Date: 1/14/21 Time: 9am
Thinking about starting a business in Illinois? This informative workshop helps entrepreneurs understand many of the steps and requirements. In this no-cost overview of Starting Your Business in Illinois, we will touch on many aspects of your business plan, including legal, accounting, banking, marketing, and sales.

Advanced Business Data Research (with Shorewood Library)
January 21st at 6pm
Already familiar with Reference Solutions (formerly Reference USA)? Learn how to utilize this data even more! In this session, learn higher level search techniques, how to use the additional functionality (like the mapping, summary, and chart options), and how to combine searches within modules to get a more in-depth level of data.
Register at:

Details to come
January 22nd at 10am

Government Certification Process (with Rita Haake at COD)
January 28th at 9am
Certifications: Interpreting the alphabet to pursue profits! Which small business certification is the best one for you?
Your options:
• Federal: 8(a), EDWOSB, HUBZone, SDB, SDVOSB, WOSB, VOSB
• Local: DBE, MBE, WBE, VBE
You will learn the details of the application process, documentation requirements, certification options, and how to market and leverage certifications for the growth of your business.
Register at:

Facebook for Business (with Mary Wu)
Details to come
February 3rd and 2pm

SEO (with Jason McCoy)
Details to come
February 17 at 2pm

Will County Residents Behind on Mortgage or Rent Can Access Funds
Funds are available to those at least one month behind on rent. utility assistance is also available for those who qualify. Renters having difficulty working with their landlords and facing eviction are encouraged to contact Prairie State Legal, another HUD CARES funded program, at (815) 727-5123.

Owners behind on their mortgages are encouraged to work with their mortgage companies on forbearance options. If those options are not available or exhausted, assistance is available for families behind on mortgage payments as well.

The local agencies helping are:

  • Will County Center for Community Concerns, (815) 722-0722
  • Spanish Community Center, (815) 727-3683
  • Catholic Charities, (815) 774-4663
  • Community Service Council, (815) 886-5000

Finally, as we look forward to the new year, it is somewhat nice to know that only three new laws will go into effect in comparison to the 200+ added in 2020. One additional and major change to note is another Minimum Wage increase. The wage will now bump to $11 beginning on January 1 and will continue a dollar a year increase until we hit $15 in 2025.

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