INTRODUCTION OF THE RESTAURANTS ACT OF 2020; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 110
(Extensions of Remarks - June 15, 2020)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E538]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                          HON. EARL BLUMENAUER

                               of oregon

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, June 15, 2020

  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, there is perhaps nothing more central 
to communities large and small than their local restaurants. 
Restaurants play host to everything from first dates to marriage 
proposals and many of life's important memories. The focal restaurant 
industry supports Top Chef Masters, first jobs, and parents working 
double-shifts to give their children a brighter future. The COVID-19 
pandemic has put all of this in jeopardy.
  Since mid-March, the vast majority of independent restaurants have 
closed their doors, laid off most of their employees, and are unsure 
what their business model will be after the pandemic. While independent 
restaurants employ more than 11 million people, the food supply chain 
touches every corner of the country and every congressional district. 
From farm workers and fishermen to truck drivers and distributors, the 
restaurant industry provides a $1 trillion annual boost to the United 
States; economy, to say nothing of supporting tens of millions of 
  The restaurant industry has been uniquely devastated by the COVID-19 
pandemic. This is particularly true of independent establishments that 
account for more than three-quarters of all restaurants and bars in the 
United States. The restaurant sector is the top contributor to 
unemployment rolls across America. In April alone, 5.5 million 
restaurant workers lost their jobs, accounting for 27 percent of total 
job losses in the month. Some of these jobs are coming back but many 
will not return without assistance.The National Bureau of Economic 
Research predicts that only 15 percent of restaurants will be able to 
stay open if the COVID-19 pandemic lasts six months.
  The RESTAURANTS Act would establish a $120 billion restaurant 
revitalization fund at the Department of Treasury. Funding would be 
available to food service or drinking establishments that are not 
publicly traded or part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing 
business under the same name. The grant values would cover the 
difference between revenues from 2019 and projected revenues through 
2020. The first 14 days of the grant's availability is only available 
to restaurants with annual revenues of $1.5 million or fewer, ensuring 
that the smallest restaurants are prioritized. Additionally, the 
legislation includes administrative funding toward outreach and 
engagement to restaurants owned and operated by women, Veterans, and 
people of color. A study on this proposal found that the fund would 
generate at least $183 billion in primary benefits and $65 billion in 
secondary benefits--more than double the amount of the fund.
  In the past three months, Congress has demonstrated the political 
will to pass more than $3 trillion of relief to most sectors of the 
economy--the House of Representatives just passed an additional $3 
trillion of relief. There were broad-based programs and there was 
targeted relief for specific industries. Yet restaurants have not been 
a recipient of any targeted relief. We can't afford not to act. 
Millions of livelihoods, hundreds of thousands of businesses, and the 
fabric of our communities is at stake.