Text of Letter (PDF)
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Representatives Richard E. Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), William Keating (MA-09), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to swiftly replenish the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).
The lawmakers’ letter comes as Massachusetts restaurants continue to struggle amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with many at risk of closing if the RRF is not refilled.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate our communities and put the survival of these small businesses and their workers on the line,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter. “Restauranteurs and their staff have worked throughout the pandemic, sacrificing of themselves, providing essential services, and feeding our communities. The federal government has a responsibility to fully fund the RRF and prevent any further closures, layoffs, and losses for our hard-working restauranteurs and dedicated workers.”
The American Rescue Plan provided nearly $28.6 billion of critical economic relief to restaurants struggling to keep their doors open since the start of the pandemic, but due to high demand, the RRF was not able to meet the full needs of restauranteurs. In Massachusetts, over 3,400 restaurants – 23 percent – have closed their doors, with 13 percent of Black-owned restaurants closed for business and 44 percent uncertain about their ability to reopen. Of the restaurants that remain open, nationwide an estimated 82 percent of restaurant and bar owners think they will have to close if the RRF is not replenished.
In their letter, the lawmakers specifically urged Leadership to prioritize bills led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) in the House and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) in the Senate that would replenish the RRF.
Rep. Pressley applauded the inclusion of the RRF in the American Rescue Plan and announced eligibility for Massachusetts restaurants in May 2021.
Rep. Pressley has long been an advocate for our local restaurants and small businesses, dating back to her work on the Boston City Council.
In May 2020, Rep. Pressley introduced the Saving Our Street Act with then-Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to provide economic relief to small businesses with less than 10 employees, with a specific focus on Black and brown-owned businesses.