On May 19, 2022, the U.S. Senate voted against cloture for the Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022, legislation that would provide $40 billion in funding to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), as well as funding for gyms and minor league sports teams. The legislation needed the support of 60 senators to avoid a filibuster and get a full vote in the senate. Despite the support of 52 senators, the bill failed to get the votes needed to progress.
The Brewers Association (BA) thanks the members of Congress who voted to move the legislation forward, and the bill’s lead sponsors Senator Cardin (D-Md.) and Senator Wicker (R-Miss.) for their leadership and support for breweries and the hospitality industry as a whole. After losing a cloture vote, the Small Business COVID Relief Act will not get a vote in the full Senate, and is likely stalled. This outcome is disappointing especially to the small businesses who qualified for RRF grants but didn’t receive them due to the program funds being exhausted.
There is still COVID-19 legislation that can be voted on. The House passed their own RRF funding bill, the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022, in early April. It is unknown whether the Senate will vote on that legislation.
Taprooms and brewpubs, like other hospitality businesses were hit especially hard by the pandemic. Thousands of businesses benefitted from grants they received from the RRF when the program was created in 2021. Unfortunately, the RRF ran out of funds, leaving hundreds of thousands of breweries, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses without grants and worried about the future of their businesses.
“Providing more funding to the RRF has been a priority for the Brewers Association and our members,” said BA President and CEO Bob Pease. “We are disappointed that the Senate was unable to vote on legislation that would help thousands of small breweries, bars, and restaurants, but will continue to push for the RRF to be fully funded.”
The BA will continue to advocate in favor of legislation that fully funds the RRF and encourages its members to stay active and contact their elected officials about their support for the RRF.