Chamber Members:

It’s inauguration day as President Biden was officially sworn in today at Noon eastern time. The President quickly moved with a plan on a number of action items that you’ll read below. Additionally, you’ll see information about the update to IHSA sports for the remainder of the 2021 school session, an open letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a PPP update.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Day One
President Joe Biden made an appeal for unity to Americans across the political spectrum in his inaugural address as the 46th president of the United States. Biden described unity as the path forward to contain the coronavirus, restore the U.S. economy, address the effects of climate change, deliver racial justice and mend deep divisions that were laid bare over the last four years.

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,” Biden said.

President Biden has put together a plan over the next two weeks to sign executive actions, memorandums, and requests to agencies covering the pandemic, economic relief, immigration, climate change and racial equity. He also moved to freeze dozens of last-minute Trump administration regulations and send an immigration bill to Congress that will provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Also included is a nationwide mask and social distancing mandate on federal property. He’s scuttling Trump’s “Muslim ban” and revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit. And while he’s at it, Biden will halt construction of the border wall, rejoin the Paris climate accords, extend the federal eviction notice moratorium, and pause interest and payments on student loans.

President Biden is poised to take action on 53 executive items over the next 10 days as he seeks to rapidly reverse some Trump administration policies and implement his own, according to a document outlining the schedule for Biden’s first two weeks in office.

The document, which was obtained by The Hill, shows that Biden will take executive action each weekday through the end of January, with each day centered around specific themes such as climate, economic relief, health care and immigration.

The timetable lays out which days Biden is expected to act on anticipated items such as reversing the Mexico City policy, creating a task force to reunite separated migrant families, and establishing a policing commission. The schedule notes that the specifics of certain executive actions are to be determined, reflecting how the Biden team is still hashing out details as it takes office following delays in the transition after the November election. The themes are expected to extend into February, which has been designated around the idea of “Restoring America’s Place in the World,” according to the document.

This week, Wednesday’s theme is focused on the inauguration and addressing “four crises” —  the coronavirus pandemic, climate, the economy, and equity. Among the items Biden will sign are an order mandating masks be worn on federal lands, an extension of eviction moratoriums, a repeal of Trump’s travel ban and a proclamation halting border wall construction.

Thursday’s theme will focus on the pandemic, according to the document. Biden is expected to sign off on executive orders to review the supply chain ahead of any use of the Defense Production Act and to implement public health measures on public transportation, airplanes, and trains.

Friday’s theme is economic relief, with two executive orders expected to be signed, according to the document. One will direct agencies to take action on Medicaid, Pell grants and unemployment insurance, while the other will restore collective bargaining rights to federal employees and initiate a rollback of a Trump administration rule on Schedule F.

The theme for Monday is “Buy American,” and Biden will sign one executive order seeking to ensure agencies use U.S. suppliers. The remainder of next week will be spent signing off on executive orders and reversing Trump-era moves surrounding equity (Jan. 26), climate (Jan. 27), health care (Jan. 28) and immigration (Jan. 29).

Biden on Jan. 26 will sign an order establishing a policing commission and reinstating Obama administration policies that regulate the transfer of military-style equipment to local police departments, a topic that gained renewed attention during racial injustice protests last summer.

Biden is expected to announce on Jan. 27 plans for a U.S.-hosted climate leaders’ summit to take place on April 22, and he will sign an order calling for “science and evidence based decision-making” across federal agencies.

He is scheduled to rescind the Mexico City policy that blocks the U.S. from giving federal funding to international groups that provide or promote abortion services on Jan. 28.

And on Jan. 29, the immigration themed day, Biden is expected to sign executive orders to direct a review of the public charge rule and create a task force to reunify families separated during the Trump administration.

February’s actions remain a work in progress, but the early days have been mapped out, and there is likely to be a strong focus on national security matters, according to the schedule reviewed by The Hill.

Biden on Feb. 1 is tentatively expected to sign an executive order aimed at workforce recruiting and retention. The following day, he will sign a “Forever Wars” executive order initiating a review of counterterrorism operations that also reinstates the policy of closing Guantanamo Bay prison, something neither of his predecessors managed to do.

Letter from U.S. Chamber – To Our Nation’s Elected Leaders: Americans Hired You. It’s Time to Do the Job.
An Open Letter to the President, Vice President, and Congressional Leaders

To President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we know one of the most powerful and life-changing phrases is, “You got the job.” For countless Americans, that sentence holds the promise of a new start, a new chapter, and a new pathway to the American Dream. And it represents the opportunity that businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators breathe into communities across the nation every single day.

Over the past few months, Americans made their own hiring decisions. To each of you, they delivered that same powerful message: “You got the job.”

Now more than ever, it’s impossible to overstate the responsibility that comes with your roles or the gravity and urgency of the work ahead.

Most notably, the pandemic is still raging across our country, and American families and businesses continue to experience an uneven economic recovery. Meanwhile, a contentious election season, recent riots at our Capitol Building, and efforts to undermine our democratic institutions have sprouted as symptoms of a more severe affliction that ails our nation: Polarization has sowed division and mistrust, and many Americans have lost faith in the institutions that are meant to serve them.

You face historic day-one challenges, but you do not face them alone. The U.S. Chamber and the American business community stand ready to help. Last week, we convened more than 10,000 business advocates across all 50 states and 120 countries for the Chamber’s annual State of American Business. We discussed the resilience of the American business community and the steps our elected leaders must take to help create a broad-based economic recovery. Together, we must reignite our economy, reassert our long-term leadership and competitiveness, and restore good governance as we chart the way forward out of these crises. And we are fundamentally optimistic that we can do just that if we work in partnership.

We must start with pandemic relief sufficient to help our nation’s industries, businesses, and workers make it through to the other side of the crisis. There is no question, businesses could not have persevered through the challenges of the past year without the leadership and partnership of our government. But the pandemic is far from over, and our economy is in need of further support. We welcome the introduction of the American Rescue Plan and applaud the focus on vaccinations and use of masks—as well as on economic sectors and families that continue to suffer. The Chamber will work with you in good faith to enact timely, temporary, and targeted measures that will help restore our economy, and we will soon share our thoughts on potential additions to the packages, as well as which proposals fail the timely, temporary, and targeted test or would slow the economic recovery.

Together, we also can stimulate the economy in a significant way if we finally do the long overdue and broadly supported work of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. It’s the number-one way to raise productivity, create jobs, and drive up incomes in a hurry. In an evenly split Senate and a closely divided House, infrastructure can unite both parties around an issue that has historically had bipartisan support—and build goodwill on other meaningful policies moving forward.

There will be many opportunities for progress if building consensus, compromise, and cross-aisle collaboration are prioritized starting on day one. From funding rapid workforce training programs and reforming our immigration system to meet the needs of our modern economy, to reengaging with the world through a bold trade agenda and fostering a tax and regulatory environment that will allow our economy to recover, the tasks ahead will not be easy, and they cannot be accomplished alone.

At the same time, the Chamber strongly cautions against a return to excessive regulation or anti-competitive taxes. The historic strength of our pre-pandemic economy was made possible in large part because of pro-business policies and regulatory relief that unlocked growth. Businesses have displayed their resilience over the past year by staying open, adapting operations, and continuing to serve their customers despite challenges few could have imagined before March. But many remain on the brink and hiking taxes or heaping on new regulations that do more harm than good will throttle our economic recovery and tilt the scale against the very businesses that are leading our nation out of this crisis.

There won’t be consensus on every issue, and the Chamber will fight vigorously against policies that will hinder—rather than help—a widespread economic recovery. But just because we may have different opinions doesn’t mean we are on different teams. All Americans should be committed to rallying our country around the common cause of our nation’s recovery and the shared goal of a stronger, brighter future. We look forward to working with you as well as our member companies, coalition partners, and the broader business community to unleash a bright new era of inclusive growth, widespread opportunity, and boundless innovation across our nation.

Congratulations again. You got the job.

Now let’s get to work.

Tom Donohue
CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Suzanne Clark
President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

IHSA Approves a Plan for Winter Sports
By an email vote, the Illinois High School Association board approved a plan Tuesday that allows winter sports, with the exception of boys and girls basketball, to be played seven practice days after the first practice.

Badminton, boys swimming, boys and girls bowling, and girls’ gymnastics are all lower-risk sports.

The acclimation period was developed by the IHSA’s sports medicine advisory committee. The Illinois Department of Public Health moved Chicago and most of the suburbs Monday into Tier 2, which allows competition. Will and Kankakee counties, however, are still in Tier 3. That means local high schools will not be able to practice or compete until reaching the next level.

The IHSA also approved contact days for all fall, spring, and summer sports, beginning Jan. 25. The IHSA, which has a meeting set for Jan. 27 to provide further details on seasons and scheduling, conducted a Zoom meeting Tuesday with athletic directors.

The winter season originally was scheduled to run from Nov. 16 to Feb. 13, followed by the spring season Feb. 15 to May 1 and the summer season from April 19 to June 26. Besides contact days, schools in Phase 4, Tier 1, and Tier 2 can conduct weight training with masks and social distancing. Schools in Tier 3 remain limited to one-on-one training with a coach and student-athlete.

Moderna on Track to Make 100 Million Vaccine Doses by End of March, CEO Says
Moderna Inc.’s leader said the drugmaker is on track to produce enough doses of its new Covid-19 vaccine to help meet President-elect Joe Biden’s goal to administer 100 million vaccine doses in the first 100 days after he takes office on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said Tuesday that Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses of its shot, which requires two doses per person, for use in the U.S. by the end of March, with additional doses to follow. Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE also are supplying doses of their vaccine to the U.S.

Mr. Bancel cautioned that there are some issues beyond his company’s control, such as last-mile distribution hiccups in getting shots into arms, as well as the timely delivery of raw materials used to produce Moderna’s vaccine.

“We are always, you know, a day away from a stumble,” he said. If even one ingredient for its vaccine production doesn’t arrive on schedule, the company can’t start making a new batch and the scheduled production shift “will be lost forever,” he added.

Mr. Bancel said Moderna is monitoring the appearance of mutations in the new coronavirus, such as the one that has spread quickly in the U.K. and is now appearing throughout the U.S. He said the company’s vaccine should still be effective if mutations are limited, but Moderna might have to develop a new vaccine if they proliferate.

However, Mr. Bancel said that could be a quick process because a new vaccine would share many features with the original one that proved effective and relatively safe in testing, and regulators might not require the full series of clinical studies to support authorization.

PPP Covid-19 Small-Business Aid Reopens With 60,000 Loans
Roughly 60,000 borrowers were approved for more than $5 billion in forgivable loans during the first week of the reopened Paycheck Protection Program, the Small Business Administration said Tuesday.

The small-business coronavirus relief effort relaunched Jan. 11 after closing last August. The first wave of applications was largely handled by community and small lenders after the SBA set aside time for them to process the loans exclusively.

The program’s restart comes as many small businesses continue to struggle with the fallout from the pandemic. One-third of small businesses surveyed between Jan. 4 and Jan. 10 said they would need financial assistance or additional capital in the next six months, according to the Census Bureau, up from nearly 25% in mid-November.

The average PPP loan size was below $20,000 for first-time borrowers and below $75,000 for second-time borrowers for applications processed through Jan. 17, according to an SBA spokesman, a sign the loans were being approved for smaller businesses. Loan amounts are based on the size of an applicant’s payroll.

The average loan size was $206,000 during the program’s initial launch last April and was $101,000 at the program’s close last August. The applicants range from day-care operations to hair salons to mom-and-pop retailers, with roughly three-quarters of would-be borrowers seeking their second PPP loan. Nearly 75% of the $14.8 million PPP loans the CDFI originated last year went to small businesses owned by people of color.

The SBA and Treasury Department limited participation in the reopened program’s first four days to community lenders, such as CDFIs and minority depository institutions. Lenders with less than $1 billion in assets joined Friday, and all lenders were able to process PPP applications starting Tuesday.

It was part of an effort to ensure that the 2021 program reached minorities, women, veterans, and underserved communities, after criticism that these groups struggled to access the program when it first opened last April. The PPP program is scheduled to accept applications until March 31.

Updated PPP Loan Applications
The process to receive a first or second draw PPP loan is now open to all and at all financial institutions. Contact your bank, credit union, or check out our list of members that you can reach out to:

First draw app:

Second draw app:

Program Notices & Reminders
SBA Page Links for Direction and Questions on PPP

1st draw info:

2nd draw info:

SBDC at JJC Update
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.

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
    • State: DBE, FBE, FMBE, MBE, PBE, VBE
    • 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.

Finally, look for more information to be announced soon for the first virtual programming in the new year on next Tuesday, the 26th covering applications for the PPP 1st or 2nd draw, forgiveness, and more.  Don’t forget about the Annual Awards taking place this Friday, January 22. You can sign up at to see the big announcements.

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