The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the budget Thursday calling for direct relief to the restaurant industry in a 90-10 vote. The Restaurant Rescue Plan which was initially proposed in a bipartisan effort by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), was based on the original RESTAURANTS Act that was put forth in June.
"The Senate made it clear today: it's time to save restaurants and bars," Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. "There is undeniable bipartisan support across the country for a dedicated restaurant relief fund. The Senate knows that the only way we can fully recover our economy is to ensure neighborhood restaurants and bars can survive and continue employing over 11 million people.”
Republican Senators have added hundreds of other amendments to the proposed budget resolution put forth by Democrats earlier this week and are planning a “vote-a-rama” on the amendments, including an amendment with bipartisan support calling to lower the income threshold for receiving $1,400 stimulus checks from $75,000 to $50,000.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cited multiple issues with the budget resolution on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, including the termination of the Keystone pipeline, and the “job-killing, one-size-fits-all minimum wage hike.”
The budget resolution was filed jointly Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and is meant to provide urgently needed funding for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes “a dedicated grant relief program for restaurants” totaling $25 billion.
Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s office confirmed with both the National Restaurant Association and other media outlets that they intend to include $25 billion for the restaurant recovery fund when it is introduced in the reconciliation bill, though that has not officially been announced yet.
The Senate is not expected to finish voting on the budget and its added amendments until late Thursday into early Friday.
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