A bipartisan bill to offer $48 billion to restaurants, gyms, and other small companies affected hard by the pandemic was blocked by the Senate on Thursday.
Senators voted 52-43 to take a vote on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes required to advance. Only five Republican senators voted in favor of the motion to continue, expressing concerns about the bill’s impact on the federal deficit and inflation.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 19, 2022
The plan, which was devised by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and backed by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) as a method to help struggling small companies get out of the debt incurred during the pandemic, is almost certainly doomed.
Cardin told reporters after the vote, “Well, this was our best shot. Make no mistake about it, we’re disappointed that we weren’t able to get it done.”
“But you know, I’ll always fight for small businesses. I’ll continue to look for ways we can help,” he added.
“You know, time is a very fleeting commodity, so I just don’t know,” Wicker told The Hill following the vote when asked about future intentions for a similar proposal.
Advocates contended that the additional money was required to prevent the closure of a large number of debt-ridden small firms.
A relief fund for struggling restaurants would have received $40 billion under the law. In their COVID-19 rescue plan, Democrats allocated $28.6 billion to the fund, but government funds quickly ran out, with only one out of every three applications receiving assistance.
In a statement, Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, stated, “Local businesses across the country expected help, but the Senate couldn’t finish the job.”
“Neighborhood restaurants nationwide have held out hope for this program, selling their homes, cashing out retirement funds, or taking personal loans in an effort to keep their employees working and their doors open,” Erika added.