Blumenauer Slams Inadequate COVID-19 Relief Proposal

December 14, 2020
Press Release
Deal has no direct cash payments or targeted relief to local restaurants.

Today, a group of senators revealed the details of a new $908 billion COVID-19 relief package. Following is a statement from U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), author and primary sponsor of the RESTAURANTS Act and a proponent of direct cash assistance, on the Senate’s failure to adequately address the urgent needs of families and small businesses:  

 “The Senate’s new COVID-19 relief bill completely fails to provide adequate aid for working families through direct cash payments and glosses over targeted relief for independent restaurants – the industry hit hardest by this pandemic. 

 “November’s jobs report was a stark reminder that the worst of this economic crisis could still be ahead of us. Millions of people remain out of work, and for the first time since April, the restaurant industry actually lost jobs—a trend that is sure to worsen as we enter the winter months. 

 “Getting direct cash to workers and small businesses is more important now, than ever. We know that the earlier $1,200 payments helped families pay for groceries, utilities, housing, and other essentials. Another round of payments will not only help the millions of people who’ve lost jobs or had hours cut,but also lift up the economy at a make-or-break moment. 

 “Time is also running out for local, independent restaurants. The Paycheck Protection Program was a short-term lifeline for millions of operations to keep them afloat and move forward, but it wasn’t designed for restaurants, who need a tailored long-term solution. Restaurants don’t need more debt, they don’t need a short-term solution, and they certainly don’t need Congress to double down on a failed approach. They need direct cash grants, as outlined in my RESTAURANTS Act, to have any fighting chance of staying in business. 

“The Senate needs to stop paying lip service to these urgent needs and actually provide relief. Willful ignorance is unacceptable. Without delay, we need to come together on a deal that addresses the real needs of our people and small businesses.”