Back in April, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a bi-partisan bill, the Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 (S. 4008), to provide COVID relief for restaurants and other “hard hit” industries. The $48B bill meant to backfill expired programs such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) will take the Senate floor today for a vote.
If passed, $40B would be used to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and $8B would be used to help several small business groups that are in financial destress. These groups include gyms, minor league sports team, border businesses, live venue service providers, exclave businesses, and providers of transportation services.
Originally established by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund provided funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Unfortunately, the $28.6 billion set aside for this program quickly ran out with only one-third of applied businesses receiving funding.
The Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 would provide grants to the other two-thirds of restaurants and other eligible businesses that originally didn’t receive RRF and are in dire need of funds to avoid collapse. With organizations operating on lower margins, rising wages and borrowing costs, tightening credit, and continuing inflation, businesses are in need of this immediate assistance.
Sixty votes are needed to open the floor to debate this bill. If the bill fails to pass today, Majority Leader Schumer can bring S.4008 to the floor again under Senate rules.
Businesses and organizations are advocating for the bill’s passage as the restaurant industry continues to recover from the impacts of COVID. The National Restaurant Association is one organization advocating for the replenishment of RRF. A survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association indicated that 900,000jobs were saved with the first round of RRF funding and replenishment of RRF is forecasted to save 1.6M jobs.
OnCentive is closely tracking legislation and will provide updates when available.