Senators Push New Small Bizz Bailout as Omicron Surges

Senators Ben Cardin and Roger Wicker are spearheading a new relief package for restaurants and other businesses.

Source : SBA

January 10, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), who is the head of the Small Business Committee, is teaming up with Roger Wicker (R-MS) to push a new bill to provide additional relief to the restaurant industry and other businesses like gyms and venues. However Cardin has said that relief may extend past this sector, saying that “we are prepared to expand it if there is sufficient support.”

The bill, according to a source, would re-introduce measures the pair had previously, and unsuccessfully, fought for. It would replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which helped many businesses with grants that matched their losses due to the pandemic. Businesses were capped at a maximum of $10 million per business and $5 million per location.

The previously unsuccessful bill would have added $48 billion to the fund. According to the Washington Post, the new one, which was crafted in December would propose a $68 billion injection into the program, funded in part by new allocations and reallocations of money that has gone unspent in other, previous coronavirus relief packages.

The original Restaurant Revitalization Fund doled out $29 billion in much-needed relief to 100,000 businesses. But as a sign of just how badly that money was needed, the fund ran out of money in just two months.

Only about a third of restaurants that applied for money through the program wound up getting any, and according to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, 80 percent of restaurants risk being closed this winter due to revenue loss related to the pandemic.

“The restaurant money is a fairness issue. Some restaurants got it and others did not,” Sen. Cardin said.

Meanwhile, with flights being canceled en masse, Broadway shows closing down, and schools putting off reopening, debate over a new stimulus is heating up.

The new bill from Senators Cardin and Wicker is likely to make its way into a larger spending bill that would fund the government through September, as the current spending agreement will expire on February 18.

Category : Coronavirus Pandemic Economic Stimulus Federal Government

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