President Obama Meets with Small Business Owners to Discuss the Impacts of the Government Shutdown

On Friday, the President met with nine small business owners from across the country about the impacts of the ongoing federal government shutdown on their businesses and updated them on where things stand on efforts in Congress to avoid a first-ever default in the nation’s credit. The President heard from these entrepreneurs about the immediate effects the shutdown has had on consumer confidence. They shared stories with the President about contracts cancelled or put on hold, workers they’ve had to furlough, and the potential for shift and staff reductions should the shutdown continue.

Hester Clark, who owns the Hester Group in Jacksonville, FL, is concerned about her ability to win more business, and the subsequent effect on her employees. “My firm has won several government contracts in the past two years,” Clark said, “and I worry about how I’ll pay my employees—many of whom have families at home—as we lose clients due to the government shutdown.”

For Det Ansinn, the owner of Brick Simple, a mobile app development firm in Doylestown, PA, the impact of the shutdown came as a surprise. “I didn’t expect the shutdown to affect our business so immediately,” said Ansinn. “One of our clients does work with the CDC, however, so they’ve put their project on hold. This shutdown affects our ability to plan ahead.”

For small businesses, the shutdown means that SBA loan applications cannot be approved, and small businesses cannot receive help exporting their goods to others countries. Many small businesses are struggling with how to take care of their employees as they see projects postponed and contracts dry up. The President thanked these business leaders for the work that they do creating jobs and investing in their communities, and briefly updated them on the conversations he’s had with all four Congressional caucuses over the past three days.

The President emphasized that he understands how damaging Washington’s self-inflicted wounds are to small business owners. The President reiterated that his first order of business is to urge Congress to reopen the government and remove the threat of default, and then he is willing to engage with Congress on finding ways to invest in our nation’s priorities, grow the economy and get the country on a sustainable fiscal path — but without the brinkmanship caused by using the threat of default as a negotiating tactic.

The attendees at the meeting were: Det Ansinn of Brick Simple LLC, Hester Clark of Hester Group, Craig Dalton of DODOcase, T.J. Gentle of, Nancy Hartman of BERMO, Inc., Rahul Iyer of Siluria Technologies, Jamal Lee of Breasia Studios, Marc Parham of the Partec Consulting Group, and Mei Xu of Chesapeake Bay Candle Company.

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