Looking back on 2009, we began the year with the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama and welcomed a new Congress with an ambitious agenda from a majority party, flesh from major 2008 election wins. The economy was the focus as the aftereffects of the crisis on Wall Street began to impact Main Streets across the country. The International Franchise Association unveiled its Five Point Plan for Economic Recovery and began building the case for Congress to act on this plan. Utilizing studies conducted for the IFA Educational Foundation--including the Economic Impact of Franchising, 2009 Franchised Business Economic Outlook and the Small Business Lending Matrix and Analysis--the association and its members began a comprehensive advocacy campaign. Congress worked quickly to pass the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, a stimulus measure designed to spend $787 billion over the next three years. It included several tax cuts aimed to help small businesses and also included over $600 million in funding to improve the U.S. Small Business Administration's lending programs. When it was clear the stimulus funds were not working their way down to small businesses, IFA pressed hard on senior officials at the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to address the situation. IFA President and CEO Matthew Shay, together with several members of the association's board of directors attended several meetings with administration officials and impressed upon them that if franchise businesses could access capital, the industry could be creating new jobs.