New round of aid for restaurants, others likely to be the last


Cardin said he talked to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer about that Wednesday and that he’s also had conversations with appropriators and Wicker about using the upcoming omnibus as a vehicle.

Cardin and Wicker have been reluctant to share details about what they’ve negotiated, but the main objective of the package is to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that Congress enacted in a pandemic aid law last March. The grant program drew more than 278,000 applicants, but only about a third of the restaurants and bars that applied received some of the $28.6 billion that Congress appropriated.

“The details will come out in due course, but the purpose is that those that were in line, that qualified and would have gotten it but for either the fact that they were a little late getting in the line or the courts pushed them to the back of the line, they would get their funds,” Cardin said.

There will not be a new application process for restaurants and bars that did not apply for the last round, Cardin said. And while he wouldn’t divulge exactly how much will be spent this time, he said it won’t be more than $48 billion, the amount he and Wicker proposed in a bill they introduced in August to backfill the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Cardin plans to broaden the new package beyond restaurants but said funds “for similar type of businesses” would be much smaller than that program. He has declined to specify what other industries may get aid, but other lawmakers have sought funding for live entertainment venues, gyms, hotels, minor league baseball clubs and more.

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