WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) voted to secure urgently needed relief for small businesses across Arizona. The Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act will deliver $55 billion to replenish funding for restaurants and establish a new program supporting other small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of Arizona’s economy and are helping power our historic recovery. I voted today to deliver assistance to small businesses across this country which have experienced significant loss during the pandemic. No one has been hit harder than those businesses at the Arizona border whose economies were devastated by cross-border closures and depend on robust cross-border traffic to thrive,” said Rep. Grijalva. “This bill will ensure that those businesses that were disproportionately affected, like those in my district, receive the aid they need to bounce back stronger than ever.”
Since the beginning of the 117th Congress, Rep. Grijalva has been fighting to ensure that businesses along the border, who have been among the hardest hit in the country, receive additional aid to address the economic downturn experienced during the pandemic. This bill provides $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program, which will assist Arizona small businesses with 200 or fewer employees that have experienced 40 percent or more in lost revenue. Together, with his Senate counterparts, Rep. Grijalva supports inclusion of language to ensure part of the funding will be guaranteed for border businesses as the bill moves forward.
Established through Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) distributed $28.6 billion to restaurants across the country – including $294,476,041 for 1,325 businesses in Arizona. Due to its popularity, the program quickly exhausted its funding before more than 170,000 eligible businesses could access relief. The Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act will provide $42 billion to replenish the RRF so that these restaurants can apply for this assistance. Rep. Grijalva has been one of the most consistent supporters of aid for restaurants, including recently urging replenishment of these funds.
This legislation also takes action to update the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to provide Arizona entertainment venues with more time and flexibility to use federal relief funds. This has been requested by Arizona businesses, and Rep. Grijalva has supported this flexibility as cosponsor of the Save our Stages Extension Act.