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Kaine Statement Ahead of Vote on Relief for Restaurants, Music Venues, Other Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement ahead of the Senate’s vote on the Small Business COVID Relief Act, legislation to provide restaurants, music venues, and other small businesses with much-needed support:

“These past two years have been difficult on all of us, and have posed unique challenges to Virginia small businesses—from restaurants and concert venues, to gyms and Main Street stores—putting jobs and essential services at risk. Past federal relief has been critical in keeping small businesses’ doors open and workers employed, but unfortunately did not reach all eligible small businesses in need. For example, I’ve heard from restaurant owners across Virginia who applied for Restaurants Revitalization Funds but did not receive support while their neighboring restaurants did, not because they weren’t eligible but because funding had dried up before they could access it. This legislation can help us fix that issue and provide other critical support to businesses in similarly-impacted industries, and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in voting for it.”

The Small Business COVID Relief Act includes:

  • $40 billion to process already submitted applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program that the Small Business Administration was not able to support due to a lack of funds;
  • $2 billion for grants for gyms that suffered losses of greater than 25 percent;
  • $500 million for minor league teams that lost at least 50 percent of revenue, which was based on legislation introduced by Senator Kaine;
  • $2 billion in aid to businesses that support live events that suffered losses of greater than 25 percent;
  • $2 billion to replenish Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS), a grant program for buses and ferries;
  • An extension on spending for Save our Stages grants for live venues; and
  • A fix for PPP forgiveness for transportation contractors.

Throughout the pandemic, Kaine has been in contact with small businesses, nonprofits, and workers about the difficulties they’ve experienced, and has brought their stories with him to Congress to fight for relief. That work has included the successful passage of various pieces of legislation to help small businesses and nonprofits, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the December 2020 government funding bill, which included COVID-19 relief, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

As a result, Virginia small businesses and nonprofits have received significant federal support including:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans: Around 155,000 Virginia small businesses and nonprofits received at least one PPP loan, totaling more than $18 billion, to keep workers on the payroll;
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): More than 78,000 Virginia small businesses received more than $7.6 billion in EIDL;
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG): 378 Virginia businesses received over $200 million in funding;
  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF): More than 2,700 Virginia businesses received over $650 million in funding;
  • State and Local Aid: The ARP included $7.2 billion for state and local governments in Virginia. This flexible funding has been used by many localities to support small businesses; and
  • Support for Underserved Small Businesses: The ARP also created the Community Navigator Pilot Program to improve access to federal support for underserved small businesses.

During Small Business Week earlier this month, Kaine highlighted dozens of success stories from businesses across Virginia, many of which involved Paycheck Protection Program loans and other forms of federal relief funding Kaine helped establish.  

In addition, Kaine pushed for permanent authorization of the Minority Business Development Administration, including his Reaching America’s Rural Minority Business Act, as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.