(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today issued a statement after the U.S. Senate failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to proceed to a debate on S.4008. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Cardin and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) and provide relief to small businesses in other hard-hit industries, including gyms, minor league sports, buses and ferries, among others. The vote count on the Motion to Proceed to debate was 52-43.
“There are about 177,000 restaurants and bars that have been waiting desperately since last August for us to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The Senate’s failure to move this critical bill forward today will mean that far too many of these small businesses will be forced to close their doors,” Cardin said. “Allowing restaurants, bars, and other hard-hit small businesses to disappear through inaction will leave holes in our communities that will not be easily filled.“At the beginning of the pandemic, Congress made a commitment to help small businesses navigate this crisis, and this bill is the final installment of that commitment. For the restaurants and other small businesses that are still struggling, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an emergency that requires emergency spending from Congress. The House already acted. The Small Business Administration is prepared to process RRF applications if they receive additional funding. The only roadblock is the United States Senate, so I am deeply disappointed that despite bipartisan support from a majority of Senators, we were unable to move forward on this bill. I am grateful to my Democratic colleagues who stood united in support of small businesses, as well as my Republican colleagues who voted for this measure. While we didn’t get the 60 votes we needed today, I remain committed to being a voice for small businesses in the Senate and will continue pushing to provide them with the support they deserve from the federal government.”