Letter to Hon. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader; Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House; Hon. Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader; and Hon. Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader - Rep. Craig Urges Congressional Leadership to Support Local Restaurants and Pass the RESTAURANTS Act


By: Tammy Baldwin, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Sherrod Brown, Jacky Rosen, Catherine Cortez Masto, Bob Menendez, Thom Tillis, Tina Smith, Amy Klobuchar, Gary Peters, Debbie Stabenow, Chris Van Hollen, Jr., Tammy Duckworth, Dick Durbin, Mazie Hirono, Chris Coons, Chris Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema, Ron Kind, Adam Smith, Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer, Jr., Abigail Spanberger, Lloyd Doggett II, Filemon Vela, Jr., Marc Veasey, Henry Cuellar, Joaquin Castro, Veronica Escobar, Al Green, Lizzie Fletcher, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Mike Doyle, Jr., Conor Lamb, Susan Wild, Mary Scanlon, Dwight Evans, Brendan Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Joyce Beatty, Brian Higgins, Joe Morelle, Kirsten Gillibrand, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Grace Meng, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi, Dina Titus, Deb Haaland, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, Tom Malinowski, Frank Pallone, Jr., Joshua Gottheimer, Andy Kim, Jeff Van Drew, Ann Kuster, Alma Adams, Roger Wicker, Betty McCollum, Brenda Lawrence, Debbie Dingell, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Seth Moulton, Ed Markey, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Cedric Richmond, John Yarmuth, André Carson, Cheri Bustos, Lauren Underwood, Bill Foster, Brad Schneider, Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush, Cindy Axne, Edward Case, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Jr., Al Lawson, Jr., Eleanor Norton, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Mike Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Lou Correa, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Karen Bass, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Lieu, Tony Cárdenas, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, Ro Khanna, Jim Costa, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Josh Harder, Ami Bera, Doris Matsui, Mike Thompson, Jared Huffman, Greg Stanton, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O'Halleran, Terri Sewell, Angie Craig
Date: Dec. 9, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy:

America faces its most difficult phase in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 case numbers are spiking across the nation, with more than one in 400 Americans testing positive in the last week alone. This unprecedented increase has prompted a wave of new restrictions ranging from nighttime closures and restrictions on indoor dining in New York, North Dakota, and Maryland to takeout-only in Oregon and stay-at-home orders in New Mexico. For the second time this year, restaurants and bars are having to limit operations or close their doors completely, raising concerns about their ability to survive the long winter ahead. They need quick relief to keep their workers employed and hold onto their businesses. Congress needs to act speedily and pass the RESTAURANTS Act to help save local restaurants across the country and the millions of workers they employ.

The restaurant industry has been uniquely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one in four jobs lost from the pandemic were those of restaurant and bar workers. The food and beverage industry is still down 2.3 million jobs since the pandemic began, a number that is sure to rise with increasing infection rates and new restrictions. Despite bearing the brunt of this economic crisis, independent restaurants have received no directly tailored federal aid. Many independent restaurant owners did not benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because the program did not match their business model or needs.

The restaurant sector is the second-largest private employer after health care, and for countless Americans they provide the first opportunity for a job. These businesses are the beating heart of communities across America, but the pandemic puts their survival in jeopardy. This threat affects restaurants and their employees and every other link in the $1 trillion restaurant supply chain. The food supply chain touches every corner of the country and supports tens of millions of livelihoods, including farm workers, fishermen, and truck drivers. A new round of restaurant closures is likely to have dire effects on the entire food supply chain.

The RESTAURANTS Act would create a restaurant revitalization fund that can be used for a wide range of expenses, including payroll and benefits, food, utilities, rent, maintenance, and supplies. This legislation has gained bipartisan support in Congress, as well as backing from restauranteurs and a large coalition of industries that rely on restaurants. It passed the House of Representatives on October 1, 2020, in H.R. 925 (Section 607, Division O). A June 2020 study on the legislation found it would generate at least $183 billion in primary benefits and $65 billion in secondary benefits -- more than double the amount of the fund itself. This type of economic multiplier is needed now more than ever.

We urge you to pass the RESTAURANTS Act quickly as part of a COVID-19 relief bill or a year-end spending bill. We look forward to partnering with you to save local restaurants across America.