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Phillips Calls for Quick Passage of Targeted Small Business Relief

Washington, D.C.
—  Rep. Dean Phillips released the following statement in support of the small business relief bill headed to the House Floor on Thursday:

“This week, the United States Congress has an opportunity to make good on a commitment we made to American small business owners during the height of the pandemic. We promised then that help was on the way, and that the entrepreneurs who needed financial support would receive it on an even playing field. There would be no special program only for the wealthy and the well-connected. The government would not pick winners and losers.

However, an uneven economic recovery and underfunded relief programs have allowed some businesses to flourish as others struggled. Industries that depend on public gatherings–such as restaurants, gyms and live events–were hit the hardest. Many didn’t survive. Those that did have done so by accruing significant to severe debt burdens.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) saved thousands of our small businesses, but the need was too great. More than 170,000 eligible applicants were left out in the cold.

For these small businesses, falling COVID case rates and the sunsetting of restrictions will not be enough to compensate for two years of severe revenue shortfalls, mounting debts, and rising costs. Some of these companies will not survive one more bad month, let alone another COVID variant.

Over the past two years, Americans have been shocked by news of fraud in our pandemic relief programs. While these programs were successful on the whole, for many people, this news only confirms what they have felt for so long: that our economy is rigged, and that the government only cares about handouts to corporations and not the mom and pop shops that make our small towns and cities thrive. How fitting, then, that we would pay for the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund with money clawed back from fraudsters.

This week, Congress has an opportunity to make good on the promise we made to them at the outset of the pandemic. Independent small businesses that make up so much of cultural and economic fabric of our local communities and our entire country. We must fight to ensure that they can keep their doors open. We must replenish the RRF.”