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After Securing Promise from Speaker, Phillips Joins Independent Restaurant Coalition to Push for Restaurant Relief

Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) joined Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and small business owners from the Independent Restaurant Coalition to call for a targeted relief package for restaurants and other industries that have been left behind.

With millions of livelihoods and jobs on the line, Phillips successfully secured a promise from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month for a targeted relief package for hard-hit sectors of the economy, either as part of the reconciliation package or concurrent with it. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, Phillips will help lead the package in the House and is calling on members from both sides of the aisle to join the effort.

“Independent restaurants are part of the cultural fabric that makes our towns, cities and country unique,” Rep. Phillips said. “Small businesses owners are still hurting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t allow our nation’s Main Street business and community gathering places to suffer when we have both the tools and the resources necessary to keep them afloat.  Too many lives and livelihoods depend on the strength of our small businesses. I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to craft a relief package that meets the challenges of this moment."

The need is staggering. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) was critical in keeping thousands of restaurants and bars open and more than 16 million Americans employed in the industry over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, demand for RRF far exceeded the $28.6 billion allocated to the program: the Small Business Administration received over 300,000 applications, totaling nearly $70 billion. More than 170,000 restaurants that applied to RRF were left out in the cold, and nearly 100,000 restaurants and bars have closed during the pandemic.

ICYMI in The Hill this week:

“… [Pelosi] promised [Phillips] a vote on a targeted, small-business relief package he was seeking, explaining that while she didn’t have time to include it in an upcoming supplemental funding package, she’d find another vehicle for it very soon, a conversation overheard by a reporter.”