Rep. John Katko wants $60B more for restaurants after voting against relief bill

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., speaks during a House Committee on Homeland Security meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington July 22, 2020.

Three months after voting against the COVID-19 relief bill that created the program, U.S. Rep. John Katko is supporting legislation that would add $60 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. 

Katko, R-Camillus, is a co-sponsor of the bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, to replenish the fund overseen by the Small Business Administration. 

The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that Congress approved and President Joe Biden signed in March, included $28.6 billion for restaurants. According to Blumenauer, more than 362,000 businesses applied for nearly $75 billion in aid — far more than the appropriation for the program. 

Restaurants can receive funding to replace revenue losses during the pandemic. Awards of up to $10 million are available for each business, with no more than $5 million for each location. 

When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, no Republicans voted for the legislation. Katko criticized it as a “massive partisan spending package,” but acknowledged that there were provisions he liked, including “expanded support for struggling businesses.” 

Last year, he co-sponsored legislation introduced by Blumenauer to create a $120 billion fund to help restaurants affected by the pandemic. 

“Restaurants in central New York have been among the hardest local businesses hit by the pandemic,” Katko said Tuesday. “That’s why, throughout this crisis, I’ve been a staunch advocate for restaurant relief and most recently cosponsored the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021. This bipartisan bill would replenish the successful Restaurant Revitalization Fund with $60 billion in additional funding to support applicants currently waiting for relief.” 

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