WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Independent Restaurant Coalition and two U.S. Representatives came together on Wednesday, September 29, to talk about the importance of refilling the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
While the press conference occurred, other members of Congress were voting on infrastructure packages that have trillions of dollars of spending, not including relief for restaurants and bars.
Dayme Hahn, the co-owner of Faidley’s Seafood, said, “Representatives are negotiating trillions of dollars of infrastructure spending just a few feet from here. They say the legislature will create jobs and more sustainable economy, and we would like to be part of that.”
“Nearly 200,000 neighborhood restaurants and bars across the country are in danger of closing permanently unless my colleagues take action,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the original sponsor of the Restaurant Revitalization Replenishment Act (RRR). “These small businesses provide unparalleled opportunities to women, people of color, the formerly incarcerated, immigrants, single mothers, and young people. The catastrophe that looms ahead will inflict damage to the economy that we cannot comprehend. We will continue to stay loud until every restaurant and bar who needs help gets it.”
“Restaurants are an important part of our infrastructure, we need to make them a priority right now,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), a co-sponsor of the RRR. “We must fulfill the promises we made to the nearly 200,000 restaurants and bars waiting on relief. If my colleagues in Congress are serious about supporting small businesses, they need to tell our Senate and House leadership that helping restaurants is a priority.”
Geoff Tracy, the Chef and Owner of Chef Geoff’s and Tortilla Coast, added that getting this relief is the difference between survival and the permanent closure of thousands of small businesses. That equates to millions of jobs that would be lost.
“The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is the only reason why my restaurants are open. It is unfair that hundreds of thousands of small businesses like mine will close because Congress is not taking our plight seriously,” Tracy said. “Congress needs to step up and save our industry now.”
“Generation after generation of my family’s work may go to waste if Congress continues to ignore our struggles,” Hahn added. “I’m having a hard time paying my rent. Crab prices are so high that it’s making it difficult to sell crab cakes. Our customers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. For the first time in my life, I do not know what our future looks like. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund would secure my family’s future and preserve my family’s legacy. It is important that Congress makes this happen.”
While there is not a confirmed time frame for when the RRR will be passed, Rep. Phillips said that Speaker Pelosi promised relief is coming.