In President Biden’s whopping $1.9 trillion coronavirus kit, a $25 billion grant programme for failing restaurants will be included, with a huge chunk of that going to the ailing eateries of the Big Apple, The Post has learned.
The provision’s specifics are still preliminary, but will encourage qualified food service and drinking establishments to apply for grants of up to $10 million to compensate for the coronavirus pandemic’s lost revenue in 2020, a source familiar with the negotiations said.
The fund will be open to eateries with more than 20 locations, such as McDonald’s or Starbucks, that are not part of a chain or franchise, which covers everything from restaurants, food stalls, bars, wineries and pubs to the famous food carts of New York.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged Biden to include the clause in his big-spending package as the restaurants in New York experience another gruelling winter, before Valentine’s Day with no indoor dining, the source said.
Biden’s restaurant grants do not require a minimum 25 percent lost revenue threshold, unlike the small-business Paycheck Insurance Scheme, meaning the size of the grant would be contingent on lost revenue between 2019 and 2020.
It would not be necessary to repay the grants unless the grant holders closed indefinitely or did not spend the grants on qualifying expenditures, in which case the grant becomes a low-interest loan.
A study published by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in October predicted that as many as half of all bars and restaurants in New York City could permanently shut down due to the pandemic by April.
Many of the city’s bloodline businesses remain closed, like Broadway, leaving hundreds of thousands out of jobs.
Using an unusual strategy known as budget reconciliation, Democrats in Congress are starting to work out the terms of the Biden rescue plan, which is expected to pass without any Republican support.
Last week, ten GOP lawmakers sent a $600 billion counteroffer to the president, but several individuals in Biden’s orbit said he was not interested in a scaled-down bill and would drive his $1.9 trillion stimulus package forward.
For qualifying Americans, the package contains $1,400 stimulus checks and more than $20 billion for vaccination initiatives by the government.
On the heels of a $900 billion bailout Congress passed in December, conservatives concerned with America’s ballooning federal debt have baulked at passing such a massive package.
But the economic advisors of Biden, including current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have urged lawmakers to go large in order to stave off permanent economic harm caused by the 447,000 Americans so far claimed public health crisis.