Proponents of adding tens of billions of dollars to the exhausted Restaurant Revitalization Fund are hoping to attach it to any popular legislation — and hope they can get more funding by the end of the summer.
It’s an effort that could provide a critical infusion of funding for an industry still struggling to regain its footing after the Covid-19 pandemic and labor shortages that have limited the sector’s recovery.
“There is a great deal of enthusiasm for the legislation. Everybody is pulling in the same direction, and I am cautiously optimistic that we may be able to do it this summer,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, who introduced the original restaurant relief legislation in 2020 and has been pushing for more funding ever since.
Blumenauer is also spearheading The Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021, which would provide an additional $60 billion for the grant program – enough to process all the the $50 billion in unfilled applications from hundreds of thousands of restaurants made before the initial $28.6 billion was exhausted. That legislation was introduced by Senators Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, and Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, in the Senate and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, alongside Blumenauer.
But Blumenauer said passing any standalone legislation now was extremely rare, so he is hoping to attach the new funding to any must-pass or bipartisan legislation Congress will be considering in the coming months.
“We are working on the legislative proposal so that we are flexible,” he said. “If there is a recovery bill or a budget bill that looks like it’s going to get floor time in the House or the Senate, we will be there.”
Read the full story at Dallas Business Journal.