U.S. House Passes Restaurant Relief

For several months, the Vermont Chamber and Vermont Independent Restaurants (VTIR) have advocated for replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was depleted before most of the Vermont restaurants that applied could receive the funding they desperately needed. With 581 Vermont restaurants shouldering over $120 million in unmet need, restaurant operators appealed directly to the offices of Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders, and the Vermont Chamber has been in close communication with Congressman Welch’s office.

This week, those efforts are paying off, with the announcement of a small business relief package originating in the House. The bill includes $42 billion for RRF replenishment as well as $13 billion for businesses across all industries and sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic but not eligible for other relief funding. Congressman Welch held a press conference to announce the bill, with the Vermont Chamber and Sue Bette of VTIR making remarks thanking the Congressman for his stalwart support and urging swift passage of the bill. The House passed the bill on Thursday, and there is word of a bipartisan coalition forming in the Senate to support it. The Senate will take the bill up after returning from the Easter recess, likely the last week of April.