“Many small businesses are drowning right now,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “They have very little financial cushion to begin with, many of them have hand-to-mouth operations, and they have no place to turn to except the government.”

The situation is grim. Local news outlets are filled with stories of beloved institutions going under for good as they face a raging winter coronavirus outbreak, the specter of new health restrictions and no sign of federal aid to help carry them over into brighter times when a vaccine may be available.

From a famed New York City barbershop to an influential music venue in Athens, Georgia, the NBC News audience has shared the names of nearly 200 favorite businesses they’ve said goodbye to in recent months. It’s a list that undoubtedly will grow.

But the government isn’t moving. While there’s little dispute in Washington that aid is needed, the White House and Democratic and Republican leaders are far from an agreement. Even though key parts of the last financial stimulus package expired more than three months ago, each side is still holding out for what it hopes will be a better deal.