The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to businesses, and that’s especially true in the Lone Star State. Texans have shaped the determined spirit of this country, so it’s not surprising that when things got tough, two members of Congress from Texas got going. This week, Representatives Filemon Vela (D-TX) and Lance Gooden (R-TX) introduced the Small Business Comeback Act – an ambitious piece of legislation that would create a recovery fund to help businesses at the heart of every community keep their doors open until good days come again. 

The Comeback Act would provide federal support for small businesses most impacted by COVID-19, helping them to retain and rehire staff, pay rent, meet certain debt obligations, and pay state and local taxes. Rep. Vela commented that the measure will “fill the gaps of previous legislation by providing immediate relief in the form of flexible grants to establishments in need. 

Texas has endured a particularly cruel turn of events in recent weeks – after reopening following weeks of lockdown, Governor Abbott made the tough decision to close the state again as COVID-19 cases spiked. While protecting public health must come first, it was another blow to struggling business owners. 

Bill Loveday, the owner of Bacaro Kitchen and Wine in Houston, said the surge in cases “has everybody concerned, so it’s very difficult to get any business… Really, pessimistically, if we don’t have some kind of dramatic help – right now – we’ll have to close the business.” Enter: the Comeback Act.  

As Rep. Gooden said, the Comeback Act “is designed to provide freedom and flexibility to the businesses who were harmed by mandated closures” and, unlike other federal programs, will allow business owners the flexibility to decide how the funding is used – giving Texans, and all Americans, the best chance at keeping their employees and their doors open past the near-term.   

Now that the Comeback Act has been introduced, it’s critical the bill moves to the floor and is passed into law. Every member of Congress needs to hear how the Comeback Act will reinvigorate their local economies and protect constituents. In these unprecedented times, by-the-book policies will not do. Legislators must pass the Comeback Act and begin the real work of America’s economic recovery.