The Senate is likely to vote next week on a $48 billion small-business aid package to help restaurants and bars, buses and ferries, gyms, minor league teams, live event support companies and border-region businesses that saw big revenue losses during the pandemic, the measure’s authors said Wednesday.
The main goal of the bill from Senate Small Business Chairman Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker is to backfill the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for the roughly two-thirds of applicants who didn’t get any grant money under the initial $28.6 billion program. It would provide $40 billion to do that, while a House-passed version had $42 billion.
The other $8 billion in the Senate bill would be divided among select industries: $2 billion each to gyms and live event servicers, like companies that provide staging, lighting, sound and casts for theaters; $2 billion for transportation service providers like buses and ferries; $500 million for minor league sports teams and $1.4 billion for small businesses located near land ports of entry that were closed due to the pandemic.
The House offered a industry-neutral approach to helping businesses outside of those approved for RRF grants, allocating $13 billion for a “hard-hit” industry grant program based on size and revenue loss.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition sent an alert to its members and a tweet late Tuesday afternoon saying they “just got word” from Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer that “the Senate will vote next week on refilling the Restaurant Revitalization Fund” and urging them to call senators to gin up support.