Typically vice-presidential debates are lightly viewed and quickly forgotten. This year could be different: One presidential candidate is a high-risk Covid patient and the other is 77 years old. If there were ever a time to really suss out their running mates’ approaches--particularly on economic strategy and financial relief from the Covid-19 pandemic--it’s now. Of the two, Vice President Mike Pence has the longer small-business track record. His 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives show that he takes a pretty standard Republican approach, focusing on cutting taxes and eliminating regulations. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) recently showed where she stands: In May, Harris introduced a $124.5 billion Senate bill that would give grants of up to $250,000 to small businesses hit by Covid-19. The focus of that bill was around immediate cash relief targeted at businesses with 10 employees or less, and with under $1 million in revenue.
Indeed, if there's any difference between Pence and Harris on how to help small businesses during this crisis, it will probably play out as the difference between the GOP approach of cutting taxes or the Democratic direct payment option. On Tuesday, the differing approaches took on additional significance: President Trump ended negotiations over a Covid relief bill that has been stalled in Congress for four months, almost guaranteeing that help won’t come until after the election.
Read our preview of the VP debate to prepare yourself for the issues that matter for small-business owners--and then tune in tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern to hear what the candidates think.