Several Democrats in the Florida delegation are calling for congressional leadership to back funds for independent and small restaurants as part of any final COVID-19 stimulus deal.
Earlier this month, more than 160 members of Congress, including 25 members of the U.S. Senate, sent a letter to leaders of both chambers to include $120 billion for these restaurants. This proposal was included in the RESTAURANTS Act which had the support of half of the Senate and cleared the U.S. House as part of the Heroes Act.
Florida Democrats U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings and Al Lawson joined Republicans including U.S. Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Roger Wicker of Mississippi and U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Peter King of New York in signing the letter.
Crist, who sits on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, weighed in on the letter last week.
“The restaurants and bars that call Pinellas home are doing their best to navigate the unpredictable and keep their doors open during the pandemic,” said Crist on Thursday. “Unfortunately, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it’s clear many of our beloved neighborhood establishments won’t survive without much needed relief. Pinellas restaurant owners and employees are calling out for help – Congress needs to pass the RESTAURANTS Act before the end of year to protect the future of our local economy and workforce.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.