Subsidies for restaurants and small businesses blocked in the Senate

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Cardin’s advocacy worked on at least one GOP senator. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski said earlier Thursday she was still undecided because while restaurants in her state are “still facing some pretty tough times,” she wanted to see the cost of the package come down. She ended up voting to move the bill forward.

But ultimately it was not enough. The only Republicans to vote for closure on the motion to proceed were Wicker, Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

“Louisiana has one of the highest per-capita restaurant presences for frequent tourists,” Cassidy said. “We had a COVID lockdown that is equal to any other city in New Orleans. And many of these companies are currently trying to cope with the high cost of labor, they have short hours, and so on.

In contrast, the other Louisiana senator, Republican John Kennedy, voted against moving the bill forward. Like others who opposed the measure, he voiced concerns about the growing deficit and inflation.

“I have a lot of sympathy for our restaurants, but at some point we have to stop spending money that we don’t have,” Kennedy said. “No one ever stands up here and says I have a bad idea and need money for it. These are all valid causes. But much of the inflation has been caused by the amount of spending done by Congress.

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