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Labor shortage, Biden vaccine mandate threaten small business. How Congress can help

·3 min read

Shaw Insurance Agency in Hurst represents more than 60 companies and serves as a staple in our community. I had the opportunity recently to welcome Susan Shaw, the co-owner, to testify in front of the House Small Business Committee. She reminded us that small businesses around the country have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic damage because they do not have the luxury of deep pockets and sometimes must make hard decisions between keeping employees or paying bills.

Small businesses are fighting to survive the last year and a half of mandates, regulations, shutdowns and constantly changing economic forecasts as they recover from the pandemic. But in a time of uncertainty, it is these small businesses who are driving our nation’s economy forward.

During times of need, it is great to see a community rally behind small businesses, but they can only do so much. Larger action is necessary, but President Joe Biden’s war on small business is crippling our economy. American entrepreneurs’ spirit cannot be defeated, but they need policies that champion them.

Last week, when the president announced his massive plan of government overreach and privacy violation in the form of vaccine mandates, he made it clear he does not care about the future of small businesses. This mandate will affect more than 80 million workers — more than two-thirds of the American workforce, many of whom work for small businesses.

Biden cannot federally mandate that most Americans receive the coronavirus vaccine, so he’s using American businesses as his arm of the law and unconstitutionally threatening them with crushing fines.

My Republican colleagues and I on the small business committee have worked to prioritize legislation to help such businesses, but our Democratic colleagues have opposed it. The Restaurant Recovery Fairness Act would provide necessary oversight to ensure that revitalization funds are distributed to the restaurants that serve at the center of our communities.

In August, I proposed the Bringing Back Main Street Act to help ensure money set aside by Congress for our small businesses is getting to them, not foreign businesses. These are simple, yet critical bills that would support our small businesses and provide the necessary resources to overcome the economic challenges of the pandemic.

Democrats, though, are proposing policies detrimental to small businesses’ future. The most apparent is the left’s continuous unemployment incentives. At the end of June, businesses were unable to fill a record 10.1 million job openings, up from a previous record of 9.4 million in May. In North Texas, small businesses who managed to stay open through the pandemic are unable to keep the doors open during this hiring crisis.

While facing a labor shortage and vulnerable economy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to push massive spending bills, contributing to inflation. Americans are now paying 41.8% more for used cars, 51.8% more for gas in Texas, 24.1% more for hotels, 19% more for airfare, and 10.7% more for steaks, and the cost of chicken is at a 7-year high. Every American is paying more every time they walk out the door.

The good news is that the American spirit cannot be broken. More people are filing to start new businesses, and it is time to support them. To those small businesses who continue to fight to give back to our community and bring light to your neighborhoods, we salute you.

I’ll continue to advocate for small businesses here and across the country. We need policies that will help, not hinder, their success.

Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Irving, represents the 24th Congressional District, which covers parts of Tarrant and Dallas counties.

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