A much-anticipated Senate vote on replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) with an additional $40 billion in direct restaurant assistance is now set to take place this Thursday, May 19.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) originally indicated he would schedule a vote for earlier this week. Lobbyists expressed hope that action would likely be taken on Tuesday, May 17.
Due to ongoing discussions in the Senate on additional aid to Ukraine, expectations shifted yesterday to the reassignment bill, S. 4008, which will be voted on next Monday. Anticipation from lobbyists and stakeholders changed again today with a vote to be held tomorrow, May 19.
The National Restaurant Association has written to the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to emphasize industry support for a reassignment. The senators’ bill would provide enough funds to provide grants of up to $10 million to the 177,000 people who thought they received the aid last year. But the RRF exhausted its initial allocation in three weeks.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition sent a letter to U.S. senators, urging them on behalf of its members and 29 industry vendors and trade groups to vote “yes” to S. 4008. Co-signers included the James Beard Foundation, DoorDash , Toast and The Beer Institute.
DoorDash said it allowed restaurant owners using its platform to ask their senators to support the bill. To date, the delivery service said, more than 800 communications had been sent.
The administrator of the RRF, the US Small Business Administration, indicated at the time of the fund’s closure that it would keep unfulfilled applications on file and distribute the funds to operators in the order in which they were received.
Groups such as the NRA and the Independent Restaurant Coalition have argued that at least tens of thousands of restaurants are likely to be forced to close unless they get the help they need to pay the debts they have. accumulated during the pandemic.
Update: The story has been revised to include comments from the Independent Restaurant Coalition and DoorDash.
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