National Restaurant Association Comments on COVID Relief Act of 2022 Vote; Michelle Korsmo and Sean Kennedy Share
WASHINGTON, DC - The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) has served as an important resource for many operators throughout the challenges of the pandemic. However, in a recent ruling, the United States Senate voted against the advancement of the Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 (S. 4008), which would have helped replenish the RRF.
“Throughout the pandemic, restaurants focused on serving their communities. When government-mandated closures shuttered dining rooms, restaurants found a way to shift operating models and keep employees on the payroll. When first responders needed a hot meal, restaurants stepped in to help in cities and towns across the country,” said Michelle Korsmo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Restaurant Association (NRA). “When Congress offered these restaurants the RRF lifeline, restaurant owners and operators made business decisions based on those commitments. Restaurants that are still trying to make up for what was lost in the pandemic today are struggling with workforce shortages, record-high inflation, and supply chain constraints. Today’s vote will further exacerbate those challenges and result in more economic hardships for the families and communities across the country that rely on the restaurant and foodservice industry.”
The relief act included $40 billion for RRF replenishment and $8 billion in support for other industries deeply impacted by the pandemic. According to a press release, the House passed the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022 (H.R. 3807), that included $42 billion to replenish the RRF, on April 7.
More than 278,000 restaurants applied for funds from the RRF, but only 101,000 applications were funded before the Small Business Administration ran out of funding, NRA’s statement read.
“Today, a Senate filibuster dashed the promise made to more than 177,000 small business owners in communities across the country,” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the NRA. “These restaurant owners believed the creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was a down payment, and that the Senate would complete the mission with this vote. A bipartisan majority voted to begin debate on this critical legislation, but it wasn’t the 60 votes needed. While there are valid questions about government spending and inflation, restaurants should not be caught in the crossfire. We applaud the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for their work in creating and pressing to replenish the RRF."
To read more from the NRA’s report, please click here.
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