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The American Rescue Plan Provides New Support to Small Businesses, Restaurants, and Farmers

Submitted by Patrick Cassidy.

(March 16, 2021) WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) released detailed information on how the American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319) supports small businesses, restaurants, and farmers, and will promote a stronger economic recovery.

The American Rescue Plan Act originated in the House of Representatives, and provides a new round of loan forgiveness and emergency disaster grants for small businesses and non-profits through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), establishes a nationwide Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and extends new support to farmers and agricultural producers.

Rep. Courtney voted to pass the final American Rescue Plan Act on March 10th, and it was signed into law by President Biden on March 11th.

“We had over 4,000 folks in eastern Connecticut join us on last night’s town hall, and there’s no question that people have been waiting for the support that the American Rescue Plan provides,” Courtney said. “Eastern Connecticut is all hands on deck right now. Our local small businesses and employers are fighting hard to make it through, and we’ve got to help them succeed so that our community can recover. Now that the American Rescue Plan is finally law, help is on the way directly to our local restaurants and bars, to our region’s small businesses and agricultural enterprises, and to the live venues we can’t wait to patron once again. My office is ready to assist all of our farmers, fishermen, restaurant and small businesses owners in navigating this new round of assistance—our phone lines are open, and we’re here to help.”

The American Rescue Plan Act takes bold action to support local small businesses and restaurants as well as their employees, and provides another round of assistance for farmers following passage of H.R. 133 in December, which included critical funding for agricultural producers. Among its many provisions, the new law:

Provides New Assistance for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

  • The American Rescue Planprovides $15 billion in additional funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants—a highly utilized program in eastern Connecticut.
    • Specifically, the law provides $10 billion for additional targeted EIDL cash advances to hart-hit businesses that did not receive the full $10,000 EIDL grant
    • It also provides a total of $5 billion for supplemental EIDL payments of $5,000 to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees that have suffered economic losses greater than 50%, even if they have previously received the full $10,000 EIDL.
  • The American Rescue Plan also extends forgivable PPP loan eligibility to certain non-profit organizations, authorizing $7.25 billion in additional support for eligible organizations
    • Specifically, the law expands eligibility to additional 501(c) non-profit organizations that meet certain lobbying requirements and have 300 employees or fewer
    • The law also expands eligibility to certain larger 501(c)3 non-profit organizations as long as they have 500 employees or fewer per physical location.
    • The law makes additional non-profit organizations eligible for 2nddraw PPP as long as they have suffered a revenue loss of 25% or greater, and employee 300 people or fewer
    • H.R. 1319 expands PPP to cover additional categories of non-profits, as well as internet-only news publications that provide local news coverage.
  • The American Rescue Plan provides $1.25 billion in new support to venues shuttered due to the pandemic, including $500,000 for technical assistance to help qualifying venues apply.
    • The final law includes a technical fix that allows qualifying venues to apply for both the Shuttered Venue Grants and PPP loans
  • New funding through the American Rescue Plan comes on the heels of support authorized through H.R. 133 in December 2020. H.R. 133 refueled the Paycheck Protection Program, and set funding aside for loans issued by small depository institutions, and for first-time borrowers and small companies with 10 or fewer employees. Click hereto read more.

Authorizes New Support for Local Restaurants

  • The American Rescue Plan authorizes the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to provide emergency grants to restaurants and other eligible entities through the SBA
  • The law funds the new program with more than $28 billion, and stipulates that funding is to remain available until expended.
    • The law sets aside $5 billion specifically for entities with year 2019 gross receipts less than $500,000
  • Maximum Amount:
    • The aggregate maximum amount of grants made to an eligible entity must be less than $10 million
    • Additionally, grants are limited to $5 million per physical location of the business
    • The grant cannot be greater than pandemic-related revenue loss of the eligible entity
  • Restaurants and other recipients will be able to put funding towards a wide variety of essential needs, including payroll costs, principal or interest on a mortgage, rent payments, utilities, maintenance expenses (including construction to accommodate outdoor seating), supplies and PPE, food and beverage expenses within the scope of normal business practice, covered supplier costs, paid sick leave, and other expenses SBA deems necessary.
  • Eligible entities include restaurants, food trucks, food stands and carts, caterers, saloons, taprooms, bars, taverns, inns, and other licensed facilities of a beverage or alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, or similar businesses who patrons assemble to be served food or drinks.
  • State- and local government-operated businesses, and businesses with more than 20 locations, are among those ineligible.
  • In response to inquiries from Rep. Courtney’s office, the SBA—which will distribute this grant funding—has stated that funding will become available within a matter of weeks.

Authorizes New Support for Farmers and Agricultural Producers

  • The American Rescue Plan authorizes $4 billion in renewed funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue to purchase and distribute food and agricultural commodities during the pandemic—providing a necessity for families in need, and a boost to farmers and agricultural producers
    • The USDA is permitted to use the new round of commodity purchase funding for seafood, as well as to make grants and loans to seafood producing facilities and vessels
    • Funds can also be used to make grants and loans to small and mid-sized farmers, farmers markets, food processers and distributors, and to protect workers from COVID-19 to maintain and improve the agricultural supply chain.
  • The new funding comes on the heels of substantial support provided to farmers through H.R. 133, which Rep. Courtney voted to pass in December. H.R. 133 was signed into law, and the assistance it authorized for farmers will be available in the coming weeks.
  • H.R. 133 authorized approximately $26 billion total for all agriculture nutrition programs, including:
    • $11 billion for programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
    • $400 million for the Dairy Donation Program
    • $300 million in Fisheries Assistance
    • $100 million in block grants for Specialty Crops
    • $60 million in grants for improvements to Meat and Poultry Facilities
  • The final law also contained language Rep. Courtney pressed for that permits schools to continue to provide dairy options to students and to purchase 1% flavored milk.

For more information on the House’s American Rescue Plan Actclick here. Rep. Courtney will continue to provide detailed information on H.R. 1319 in the coming days.


Sharon Challenger
I am a professional Scenic Artist and have also worked as a Systems Analyst and Senior Programmer Analyst for the Travelers and Yale University. Education: Post University, Wesleyan University and Yale University School of Drama.

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