Take Action Alerts

May 16, 2022

Senate Expected to Vote on Beginning Debate Over Restaurant Revitalization Fund Bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has pledged that the chamber will soon vote to begin debate on a bill that would allocate $40 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The program provides a much-needed lifeline to restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the initial $28.6 billion of funding ran out in spring 2021 after only three weeks, leaving 177,000 restaurants waiting for relief. Additional funding would provide that support.

The National Restaurant Association is requesting help from FEDA's dealer network to push the bill over the finish line. Even if you have previously engaged your Senators, FEDA asks you to please consider contacting them again by using this form. Everyone in Washington knows there is a great need to replenish the RRF, but they need to hear directly from businesses to make it a priority.

For more information on the status of the bill, please see the National Restaurant Association's latest Washington Update.
 

April 11, 2022

Restaurant Relief Program Could Gain New Life as Bill Heads to Senate

The U.S House of Representatives voted 223-203 on April 7 to approve $42 billion to replenish the depleted Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The bill is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.

If signed into law, the bill (H.R. 3807) would act as a lifeline to restaurants that are still struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original RRF began accepting applications in spring 2021 and ran out of its initial $28.6 in funding after only a few weeks, leaving about two-thirds of the nearly 300,000 applicants unable to receive any kind of aid from the fund. A survey found that nearly 50 percent of restaurant operators that did not receive RRF grants felt it was unlikely they would stay in business beyond the pandemic without a grant.

Directing funding into the RRF has been one of the National Restaurant Association’s top priorities for the past year. “The pandemic-related shutdown of indoor dining was a natural disaster for our industry,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “The RRF was originally funded as emergency spending, no different from a hurricane or flood. We are not seeking a second round of RRF grants, we are simply seeking basic fairness for the 177,000 restaurants that are still waiting for relief."

TAKE ACTION
The Senate version of the bill, the Small Business COVID Relief Act (S. 4008), could be considered by early May. Following the close House vote, which saw the support of six Republicans, it is uncertain whether the bill will receive the needed 60 votes to pass the Senate. FEDA members are encouraged to voice their support for the bill by contacting their senators. To find your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.
 

April 6, 2022

Contact Your Senators to Oppose Bill Eliminating Right to Arbitration

FEDA asks members to encourage their U.S. senators to reject the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act. The bill (H.R. 963) would prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements from being valid or enforceable if it requires arbitration of an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights dispute. If signed into law, it could eliminate or reduce remedies for employees and small businesses seeking to settle disputes without costly ligation.

The FAIR Act is an attempt to revive a core part of the failed PRO Act, which would have implemented far-reaching changes in the relationship between employers and employees. The PRO Act passed the House of Representatives in 2021 but stalled in the Senate when it became part of the larger Build Back Better plan. Some legislators are now attempting to pass individual parts of the PRO Act as additions to otherwise unrelated bills or as stand-alone legislation, as is the case with the FAIR Act.

The House already passed the FAIR Act on a 222-209 vote in March and the Senate has since referred it to Committee on the Judiciary for further discussion.

TAKE ACTION
Please contact your senators to ensure the FAIR Act does not make further progress. To find your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.

 

April 6, 2022

FEDA Asks Members to Oppose Resurrection of PRO Act’s Card Check Provision

FEDA is asking members to contact their U.S. representatives to urge them to remove damaging provisions of the rejected Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, like authorizing card check organizing, from the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521).

The PRO Act, a 2021 piece of legislation that became part of the controversial Build Back Better bill, would have erased a century of balance between employers and employees by fundamentally altering longstanding union organizing practices and expanding the power of the National Labor Relations Board to impose union representation without an election. Having failed to get the bill passed, labor groups and activist organizations are now seeking to incorporate pieces of the bill into unrelated legislation, such as the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521), which is intended to enhance the competitiveness of American businesses on the international stage.

As it stands, the America COMPETES Act includes a solar energy provision that would implement the “card check” system for union organizing, which can lead to the intimidation or harassment of workers who are reluctant to provide their signature to authorize union representation. The provision was previously part of the proposed PRO Act.

Although the PRO Act, which had been approved by the House, failed to gain traction in the Senate last year, the card check provision now has a chance of becoming law. Both the House and Senate (S. 1260) versions of the bill passed their respective chambers in March, although the differences in the legislation must be reconciled before it is sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. The House is now considering changes to its version of the bill, meaning there is still an opportunity for businesses to make their concerns known.

TAKE ACTION
Please let your representative know that inclusion of card check provisions into other legislation will prevent companies from fully recovering and supporting their employees, communities and the economy. To find your representative and ask them to vote to remove the provision, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner.

 

March 7, 2022

National Restaurant Association Continuing Push for RRF Funding

The window to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) could soon close leading the National Restaurant Association to seek additional support to secure the much-needed financial aid for restaurants.

The relief fund was established during COVID-19 to help support restaurants that saw a drop off in business because of local restrictions on in-person dining and consumer fears over the virus. The program’s initial $28.6 billion in funding was quickly depleted as restaurant operators rushed to submit their applications, however, 177,000 applicants were unable to receive any aid from the fund.

With Congress moving closer to agreeing on a $1.5 trillion spending bill for all government functions, the National Restaurant Association said it was “do or die” time for replenishing the RRF. “While there is bipartisan interest in our industry, there remains a large disagreement on how the government should pay for new RRF funds,” the association said. “We are pressing both sides on the need to complete the mission of the RRF and that providing equal support for all applications should be a focal point.”

Those interested in supporting the association’s efforts for more RRF funding can click here to send an email to their elected officials.
 

Jan. 31, 2022

National Restaurant Association Makes Push to Replenish RRF

A new survey from the National Restaurant Association shows that most restaurants have seen a downturn in business since the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19, making the need to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) more vital than ever.

The association is asking supporters to reach out to elected officials to urge them to allocate more funding for the RRF. The timing is critical, the National Restaurant Association notes, because it is likely Congress will only pass one large spending bill this year and it is expected that bill will be voted on between the expiration of current government spending on Feb. 18 and President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.

The association has been working to educate Congress about the need for more RRF funding. Its most recent survey found that:

  • 88 percent of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor, on-premise dining because of omicron
  • 76 percent of operators said business conditions are worse now than three months ago
  • 74 percent of operators are less profitable than before the pandemic
  • 96 percent said receiving an RRF grant would make it more likely that they would be able to stay in business
  • 92 percent said an RRF grant helped them pay expenses or debt that had accumulated during the pandemic
  • Nearly 50 percent of restaurant operators that did not receive RRF grants feel it is unlikely they will stay in business beyond the pandemic without a grant
  • 94 percent of operators waiting for an RRF grant say the program would enable them to retain or hire back employees
 
Oct. 11, 2021

U.S. Chamber Affirms Support for Separate Infrastructure Bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reiterated its support for a stand-alone, bipartisan infrastructure bill last week while maintaining its opposition to Democrats’ proposed reconciliation bill.

With some Democrats trying to link passage of the critical $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to the more controversial $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, the Chamber is urging businesses to stand with legislators who oppose connecting the two packages. “We supported [the infrastructure bill] because America is long overdue in making investments in our infrastructure, whether it’s congestion on our highways, potholes on our city streets, the lack of rural broadband for millions of Americans across the United States, or literally we still have lead pipes that water into people’s homes, schools and daycare centers that are literally poisoning them,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer for the chamber, during an interview on C-SPAN. “It’s good for America, good for American families and it deserves to become law.”

On the reconciliation bill, Bradley warned, “I hope that the president and the Democratic leadership come to the realization that lining to these two bills only means that nothing gets done – that we don’t replace those lead water pipes or fix those deteriorating bridges.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had originally set a Sept. 27 deadline for an up or down vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, effectively separating it from the reconciliation bill. However, after progressive Democrats threatened to withhold their support for the infrastructure package unless it was linked to the reconciliation bill, Pelosi pushed the deadline to Oct. 31. Negotiations are ongoing, but President Joe Biden told House Democrats in an Oct. 4 meeting that the price tag for the reconciliation bill would need to come down to between $1.9-$2.2 billion. Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a key moderate legislator who previously said $1.5 trillion was his limit, told reporters on Oct. 5 that he would not “rule anything out.” The bill will need the support of all 50 Democrats, including Manchin, to pass.

To find your U.S. representative and his or her contact information, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner. For your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.
 

Sept. 20, 2021

Chamber Providing Template Letters to Urge Infrastructure Bill Support

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Monday, Sept. 27. This vote will be unconnected to the separate $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that is opposed by much of the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The infrastructure bill is expected to see a close vote in the House of Representatives. To help it pass, the Chamber has developed template letters that businesses can use to contact their legislators and urge their support for the critical infrastructure investment. Please click here to download a template letter and use that to reach out to your legislators.

To find your U.S. representative and his or her contact information, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner.
 

Aug. 23, 2021

House Could Take Up Infrastructure Bill this Week

The U.S House of Representatives is expected to take up the $1 trillion bipartisan INVEST in American Act as early as this week. The bill would invest $550 billion in infrastructure over five years, including constructing new roads, bridges and rail lines, as well as maintaining existing ones.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is asking businesses to contact their legislators and encourage them to support the package. To find your U.S. representative and his or her contact information, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner. For your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.

To learn more about the infrastructure bill and to read 10 reasons why the U.S. Chamber supports the bipartisan deal, please click here
 

July 19, 2021

National Restaurant Association Publishes RRF Fact Sheet

Since the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) ran out of money last month, nearly 200,000 restaurants have been stuck in a state of limbo, waiting to see if Congress would replenish the lifeline fund. To help spur bipartisan action, the National Restaurant Association has published a fact sheet detailing the critical need to further fund the program.

“While many in our nation’s capital assume the challenges facing restaurants in their hometowns are a distant memory now that restaurants are open and busy again, we know reality is far from that,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “Food costs continue to rise; recruitment challenges mean many restaurants can’t fully open and that’s keeping revenue below expectations.”

The complete fact sheet is available here.

The National Restaurant Association is asking businesses and organizations to contact their legislators and urge them to support further funding for the RRF. To find your U.S. representative and his or her contact information, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner. For your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.