The legislation would provide $42 billion of additional relief for the restaurant industry and $13 billion for other “hard hit" industries.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3807, the "Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act," by a vote of 223-203. The legislation provides $42 billion of additional relief for the restaurant industry and $13 billion for other “hard hit" industries.
The $42 billion in additional relief for restaurants is meant to replenish the Restaurant Relief Fund (RRF) after the original $28.6 billion Congress appropriated in the 2021 pandemic spending package ran out with only one-third of businesses that applied for grants receiving funds. It is important to note that this bill does not reopen the Restaurant Relief Fund to new applicants but instead it requires the Small Business Administration to provide an explanation to those who were previously denied and gives those businesses an opportunity to reapply for the funding.
The legislation also provides $13 billion for a new Hard Hit Industries Award Program, which will provide awards to small businesses across all industries and sectors that were the hardest hit by the pandemic but were not eligible for Restaurant Relief Fund or the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG). Small businesses would qualify for this program if they employ 200 employees or less, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, and have suffered at least 40% pandemic related revenue loss in 2020 and 2021, when compared with 2019 revenue.
The costs associated with replenishing the Restaurant Relief Fund and the Hard Hit Industries Award Program would be offset by any and all funds reclaimed, seized, or returned to the federal government, primarily from bad actors attempting to defraud the programs that originated from the Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 EIDL loans or Advances, SVOG, RRF, or the Hard Hit Industries Fund.
Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.