Senate Fails to Pass $48 Billion Small Business Covid Relief Act of 2022

The $48 billion Small Business Covid Relief Act of 2022 bill (S-4008) has failed in the Senate.

S-4008 is said to have provided $48 billion to restaurants, gyms, live venues, minor league sports teams, frontier companies, exclusive companies and transportation service providers.

Small business owners and leaders of small business organizations expressed disappointment.

“After holding out for another year, restaurants and bars across America, especially in rural communities, will see no relief,” said Didier Trinh, Main Street Alliance director of policy and political impact. “The fate of these small businesses — including those owned by women and people of color left behind — will be tied to the senators who voted down their lifeline today.”

Trinh said at least 180,000 applications for Restaurant Revitalization Funding have been approved but are pending due to a lack of funding.

Senate Fails to Pass COVID Relief Act for Small Businesses

S-2091 is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Act, enacted in June 2021. It has been sent to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. S2091 became the main part of S4008, which asks to supplement the RRF and also includes funding for the other small businesses.

S-4008 co-sponsors Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the bill on April 5. It failed on May 19 through a voting process called Vote for Cloture. Cardin chairs the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

If a bill fails to meet the required 3/5s majority at a Vote for Cloture, the measure is dead for now. A cloture motion was filed to begin the voting process of the S-4008. To be approved for vote, the vote on the cloture motion must receive a positive majority of 3/5s.

The vote was 52-43, with 60 votes needed to reach the 3/5s majority and 5 senators did not vote. If the measure had received 60 votes, further debate on the bill would have been limited to 30 hours and it would have been put to a vote.

In other words, a Vote for Cloture is like ‘testing the waters’. When the Vote for Cloture failed to secure a majority, the senators moved on to the next item on the agenda.

Why did S-4008 fail?

Opponents said the bill was not funded. About $5 billion in already appropriated Covid-19 relief funds were ready to be withdrawn and used to fund part of the bill. But about $40 billion would have been added to the nation’s deficit.

The proposed breakdown of expenditure in S4008:

$2 billion – gyms $1/2 billion – minor league sports teams $10 million – frontier businesses (affected by border closures) $85 million – exclusive businesses (located within 120 miles of the US-Canada border $2 billion – transportation service providers $40 Billion – Restaurants

When S-4008 was introduced, the proposal was nearly $68 billion. That was reduced to $48 billion. You can read the full text of the bill here.

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