Chamber Members:

Hopefully by now you are all aware that the PPP application has been released for both first time draws and second time draws. If not, links are below and you can always visit our resource page on the website for the documents and archived updates.

Today we’ll review more vaccine announcements as this will continue to be a main topic for the near future as it is critical to our full economic reopen. Additionally, some news on the impeachment front, the speaker of the house race, and small business predictions in the Biden era.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Project Warp Speed Adjustments
The Trump administration will no longer hold back the second dose of a coronavirus vaccine as part of a host of changes intended to speed up the pace of inoculations and make more vaccines available to the public. The sweeping changes are a major departure from current administration policy and align with a plan unveiled by President-elect Joe Biden to release nearly every available vaccine dose. The Trump administration has been holding back half of the available doses to ensure there is enough supply for everyone who is getting a first dose to later get a second dose as well.

In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that policy has changed, effective immediately. “We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available for people from ongoing production,” Azar said. “So everything is now available to our states and our health care providers.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 25.5 million doses have been distributed. The move will effectively double that amount. Azar said on Tuesday that the federal government’s vaccine distribution has gone well, but the administration in the states has been “too narrowly focused.”

As a result, Azar said federal officials will also recommend that the vaccines will be made available to anyone 65 and over, and to adults who have preexisting conditions that put them at greater risk for severe illness. “We have got to expand the group. We’ve already distributed more vaccine than we have health workers and people in nursing homes,” Azar said.

Illinois Advancing Vaccine Plan
Local health departments soon will be able to start vaccinating those 65 and older against COVID-19, Governor Pritzker announced Monday, preparing the way for the much-awaited next phase of the vaccination program. Currently, the state is in phase 1a of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, which provides shots to health care workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities, amounting to some 850,000 people, but not everyone eligible has opted to get the shot.

Rather than waiting to use those doses, Pritzker said, those shots should be made available to the next round of 3.2 million eligible recipients in phase 1b — those 65 and older and those who are front-line essential workers. That category includes first responders; teachers and other school personnel; workers at grocery stores, food and agriculture facilities and manufacturing sites; staff at shelters and day cares; U.S. postal workers; public transit workers; and corrections workers. Inmates will also be included in Phase 1b.

Local health departments that have substantially completed phase 1a will be allowed to move on to 1b to make sure doses are given quickly, the governor said. The governor expects to make a formal announcement later this week about when Illinois will move into phase 1b on a statewide basis.

Impeachment Moving Forward, but Hampering Biden Plan
The potential for another Trump impeachment trial is threatening to upend quick action in the Senate on President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks and legislative agenda. House Democrats appear poised to impeach President Trump for a second time on Wednesday, setting the stage for a Senate trial that’s unlikely to start before Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

The effort is throwing a curveball into Biden’s plan to “hit the ground running” and forcing Democrats to scramble to find ways to keep the administration’s first 100 days on track. Biden, speaking to reporters, said his aides were in talks with the Senate parliamentarian staff about whether it would be possible to divide the Senate’s day between confirmation votes for nominees and taking up legislation and holding an impeachment trial. “Can we go half day on dealing with impeachment, and half day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate as well as moving on the package?” Biden asked. “I haven’t gotten an answer from the parliamentarian yet.”

Absent a larger agreement among Senate leadership, the trial would start at noon each day. That would limit the amount of time for lawmakers to tackle other items on the to-do list for Biden’s first 100 days. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated he wants to find a way to juggle both, saying “we got to move the agenda as well.”

If the House votes to impeach Trump on Wednesday, Democratic leadership indicated they are undecided on when they would send the article to the Senate, in an apparent acknowledgement of how a trial could hamper the early days of the Biden administration. Senate impeachment rules require that at 1 p.m. on the day after the managers exhibit the articles, the Senate “must proceed to their consideration,” the memo states. The Senate is out of session, beyond brief pro forma sessions, until Jan. 19. If the Senate wanted to start the trial early, they would need consent from every member. As a result, the Senate trial would not begin until one hour after Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 20.

Companies Begin to Cut Political Donations
A growing wave of big businesses are deciding to suspend or review their campaign donations in the wake of last week’s riot at the Capitol, with many saying they would stop donating to Republicans who objected to the election’s certification.

AT&T Inc., ConocoPhillips, Dow Inc., Facebook Inc., and United Parcel Service Inc. were among companies announcing Monday that they are halting or reviewing campaign donations from their political-action committees to lawmakers and political candidates. Those announcements follow JPMorgan Chase Inc. and Citigroup Inc., which said over the weekend they were halting their PAC donations.

Decisions by companies to review or suspend their PAC donations is the most recent sign of corporate unease with moves by Republicans to call into question Mr. Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election and could signal a broader desire on the part of business to distance itself from Washington—at least temporarily.

New Entry into Illinois House Speaker Race
The Black Caucus has reportedly chosen state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, as its candidate for speaker. A source within the caucus said Welch would have Madigan’s backing, but Madigan’s spokesman denied that. Reached for comment, Steve Brown said the veteran speaker isn’t “taking any position on any of the candidates who’ve either been announced or whose names have been mentioned in the media.”

If Welch does have Madigan’s backing, he would be a likely frontrunner, although he would still need to win over more than the 51 legislators who made up the loyal Madigan bloc. Rep. Welch joins Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, Rep. Ann Williams, and possibly downstate Rep. Jay Hoffman.

5 Predictions for America’s Small Businesses in the Biden Era
President-elect Joe Biden wants to make small business a centerpiece of his economic policy plans, says Karen Mills, former SBA administrator now a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, who has been in touch with Biden’s transition team. Here, she offers her assessment of the challenges facing the SBA, which will soon get a new chief in Isabel Guzman, a longtime small-business advocate, and what may come down the pike for America’s small businesses under a Biden administration.

1. Women and minorities will receive special attention.
The SBA does far more than provide loan guarantees. It’s only one of four pillars of things that they do, notes Mills. It has some 900 small-business development centers, counseling centers, and about 120 women’s and veterans’ networks.

“All of these are going to be the center of an enormous effort to make sure we get small businesses, particularly underserved women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses back on their feet,” Mill says. They require financial assistance, as well as counseling, she adds. The pandemic “is tough for the shoe repair guy and the café owner.”

2. The SBA will play a key role in Biden’s agenda.
Biden is giving Guzman and the SBA a big seat at the table–and that should be a net positive for small businesses, says Mills. Under Obama, the SBA chief was elevated to a cabinet level role, and Mills served on Obama’s economic team. Still, ensuring smaller companies’ voices were heard was difficult, she acknowledges. “I had to jump up and down in the West Wing a lot,” she says.

3. Fintechs could get a bigger seat at the table.
For the first time, fintech companies like PayPal, Intuit, and Square were given permission to make SBA-backed loans through the PPP. While these companies still don’t have preferred-lender status–that is, they can’t necessarily make traditional SBA-backed loans–this could change, says Mills, who notes that the prospect could be a boon for underserved communities like businesses with fewer than 10 employees and those led by people of color.

“The problem with the bank network, which has become even more prominent over the past 10 years, is it doesn’t reach the very smallest businesses. That space has been taken over by the Squares and the PayPals and the Intuits,” Mills says. Community development financial institutions, which typically operate in lower-income communities, have been great, she adds, “but they’re too slow and too few to have moved the needle.”

4. The PPP will change banking forever.
Before becoming the SBA chief, Mills worked for 25 years in venture capital. In 2018, she wrote the book Fintech, Small Business & the American Dream: How Technology Is Transforming Lending and Shaping a New Era of Small Business Opportunity (Springer, 2018), which describes the ways technology is changing the banking world. The PPP, she says, is accelerating those changes. It’s highlighting the frictions and the barriers in banking, which are making it more difficult for Black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses to get loans, she says. An example of that friction is “information opacity,” which she adds “just means it’s really hard to look inside a small business and see what it’s really doing.” The data that lenders are now collecting, she says, could help simplify how they assess the creditworthiness of a given business.

5. The focus will be on recovery and opportunity.
Beyond pandemic relief, Mills says, Biden will be interested in recovery and opportunity–particularly after the vaccine rollout happens en masse. As far as recovery goes, the latest small-business relief law offered to reinstate the credit crisis-era SBA loan guarantees and reduce or eliminate fees.

“We were able to put in an ability to raise the loan guarantees like we did in 2009 that were so effective,” says Mills. As for opportunity, she adds, there are many. One is health care, she says, adding: You could see a returned emphasis on the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, an insurance exchange designed to help small businesses compare health plans and enroll in coverage, which were originally offered under the Affordable Care Act. “They never really got fully rolled out because Obamacare got dragged down by processing difficulties,” she says. With Biden in the White House and a Democratically controlled Congress, that could change.

Updated PPP Loan Applications
First draw app:

Second draw app:

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.

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:

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:

Finally, look for more information to be shared on issues regarding businesses and covid related items such as unemployment insurance rate impact, workers’ comp premium relief, state rules on limited liability, business loss coverage, and tiers & phases. 

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