Letter to Isabel Guzman, Administrator of the Small Business Administration - Wicker, Sinema, Fitzpatrick, Blumenauer Call for Release of Unobligated Funds From Restaurant Revitalization Fund


We write today to respectfully request that the Small Business Administration (SBA) swiftly release its plan to release all unobligated funds from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act (Pub. L. 117-2) to eligible applicants. It is vital that the agency prioritize this issue and provide relief to the nearly seven thousand applicants that were identified as grant awardees in 2021 but never received funding.

In July 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight that stated that as of June 2022, $180 million of RRF funds remained unobligated. As you are no doubt aware, approximately 177,000 restaurants that applied to the program did not receive grants.

We recognize that the balance of the unobligated RRF will not be able to provide support to every small business that requested relief, but it is inexcusable for the Small Business Administration to not dispense every single available dollar to help as many of our nation's still struggling main street businesses.

Beyond releasing remaining available funds, the SBA must continue conducting thorough retrieval efforts to recapture funding given to ineligible applicants, accepted fraudulently, or otherwise able to be returned. Once recovered, these dollars must immediately be disbursed to those eligible businesses that have applied for and need these grants.

We request the SBA provide Congress with a detailed plan and timeline to distribute unobligated RRF funding as well as detailed information regarding the agency's progress in retrieving misallocated funds and distributing those funds to eligible applicants no later than Monday, November 14, 2022.

Thank you for your ongoing attention to this matter. We appreciate the role the SBA has played for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and look forward to working with you to ensure that all available funds can be leveraged by eligible food service businesses in these still difficult financial times.