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Pingree Votes to Deliver Urgent Relief Funding for Maine’s Restaurants and Small Businesses

Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) voted to secure urgently needed relief for small businesses across Maine. The Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act will deliver $55 billion to replenish funding for Maine restaurants and establish a new program supporting other small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“Funds made possible through the American Rescue Plan created a lifeline for businesses and restaurants struggling due to the pandemic. As the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic continue, it’s imperative Congress does not let up on supporting these businesses through their recovery. That’s why today, I proudly voted with House Democrats to build on the success of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “By enabling restaurants that weren’t able to take advantage of this program the first time to access essential relief in the wake of the omicron wave, this legislation will further Maine’s economic recovery as we near the busy summer season. This bill will also establish a new program to support Maine’s hardest-hit small businesses – delivering assistance to businesses that have suffered revenue losses of at least 40 percent during the pandemic. Democrats remain committed to Building a Better America, and I will continue fighting to help entrepreneurs keep Mainers on payroll and continue serving our communities.”

Established through Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, which Pingree helped pass in the House in March 2021, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) distributed $28.6 billion to restaurants across the country – including $136.5 million for 629 Maine businesses.  Due to its popularity, the program quickly exhausted its funding before more than 170,000 eligible businesses could access relief. In July 2021, Pingree cosponsored the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, which calls for supplemental funding to replenish the RRF due to the significant amount of unmet need, and has repeatedly called on House leadership to take action to provide additional relief for the restaurant industry.

The Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act will provide $42 billion to replenish the RRF so that more restaurants can apply for this assistance.  This legislation also takes action to support other struggling small businesses, including by:

  • Providing $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program, which will assist Maine small businesses with 200 or fewer employees that have experienced 40 percent or more in lost revenue.
  • Updating the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to provide Maine entertainment venues with more time and flexibility to use federal relief funds.




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