Republican Congressman and ranking member of the House Committee on Small Business, Blaine Luetkemeyer, introduced the ENTRÉE Act to add $60 billion accounted-for funds to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Currently, restaurant operators are awaiting the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund after 64% of eligible applicants were not funded by the original $28.6 billion legislation.
According to the proposed legislation, the Entrepreneurs Need Timely Replenishment for Eating Establishments Act would assist foodservice businesses in need — particularly those that were shut out of the first round — with funding provided by unspent Economic Injury Disaster Loans and state and local funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
"To replenish the RRF, we should be using unspent allocated dollars rather than continuing to recklessly print more money, which has led to widespread inflation,” Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this legislation so restaurant owners everywhere can receive the assistance they so desperately need."
The proposed legislation would also eliminate the original three-week prioritization period of women and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, which led to several lawsuits and the rescinding of thousands of previously approved applications. Instead, the Congressman said, this round of funding would be distributed on a “first-come, first-serve” basis and would require increased oversight and audits on the part of the U.S. Small Business Administration to prevent future issues.
“The introduction of this bill shows that there continues to be strong bipartisan support for restaurants,” Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association said in a statement. “There is an opportunity to find a path to consensus on how to ensure that the SBA is able to complete their mission by funding the nearly 200,000 applications left pending when the RRF closed.”
In June, Congress introduced the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021, which would more than double the original $28.6 billion of relief for restaurants and was introduced as a bipartisan effort again by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
There is no word yet on how these two proposed bills would work in conjunction and if or when Congress would vote on them.
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