WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema called on the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to quickly release its unused grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help Arizona restaurants continue to recover from the pandemic. The Senator also called on the SBA to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse of these revitalization grants. Sinema led passage of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and was critical to its inclusion in the American Rescue Plan law.
“Arizona restaurants are economic engines in our communities and employ hundreds of thousands of Arizonans, and as they continue recovering from closures during the pandemic, they still need our help. SBA must release these already-approved federal grants so Arizona restaurants can keep their doors open, workers can stay employed, and Arizonans can continue to enjoy the neighborhood restaurants they love,” said Sinema.
Sinema, joined by a bipartisan group of U.S. House and Senate colleagues, highlighted the need to release these already-authorized federal funds to support Arizona small businesses, many of which are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. According to a Government Accountability Office report released earlier this year, $180 million in revitalization funds remain unobligated. The Senator also urged the SBA to continue retrieving funds fraudulently accepted by ineligible applicants and release those funds to eligible businesses that have applied and need these grants.
During negotiations of the American Rescue Plan, Sinema successfully secured targeted relief for Arizona restaurants – which employ hundreds of thousands of Arizonans – through her bipartisan Restaurant Rescue Plan, which she originally proposed in her RESTAURANTS Act. According to a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Freedom of Information Act request, 1,324 Arizona businesses were approved for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant.
Click HERE to read Sinema’s letter.