DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – Democrats and Republicans have different ideas about what needs to be done to get small businesses back on track after some have struggled since the pandemic began.

Representative Mike Gallagher held a roundtable discussion at AmeriLux International in De Pere with several Northeast Wisconsin small business owners to discuss the challenges they are facing and possible solutions.

“The federal government has gotten out of control with the level of regulation and the level of executive orders that are incredibly destructive (for small businesses),” said Gallagher.

It seems a big challenge for small businesses is attracting workers.

“That’s why we’re bumping our head on the ceiling because we can only get so far with the finite labor pool that we have available to us,” explained Kurt Voss who is the Chief Executive Officer for AmeriLux Family of Companies in De Pere.

Republicans say vaccine mandates and the government previously paying people to stay home from work are exacerbating the worker shortages.

Representative Gallagher also says he would like to see an investment in education to address the problem.

“Our K-12 system, I mean that’s what should be producing 18-year-olds that are ready to go directly to the workforce,” added Gallagher. “For too long, for decades now our entire education system has been geared towards sending kids to college and we’re learning that not every kid needs to go to college.”

Business owners who spoke at the roundtable say they also want to see some more predictability in terms of government policy after COVID-19 rules continuously changed throughout the pandemic. They say it was hard to keep up with everything.

Many of them explain they would like to see a hands-off approach from the federal government in terms of how they regulate small businesses.

Meanwhile, Democrats say help is on the way with President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan which addresses everything from climate change to childcare.

Four mayors from some of Wisconsin’s largest city’s spoke in a zoom news conference Friday in favor of the Build Back Better Plan.

“I don’t think in my lifetime we’ve seen the federal government contemplate some of the improvements in the lives of working people,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.

The Biden administration released the framework of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Plan on Thursday, but it needs unanimous support from Democrats to pass in the Senate and two Democratic senators still aren’t supporting it.

Democrats have pared it down significantly from the $3.5 trillion plan they introduced initially.