Democratic legislators advocate the release of unobligated funds from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently forwarded correspondence to the Small Business Administration (SBA) seeking a release of unobligated funds from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) this month.

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U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) joined U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in signing off on the letter to SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, requesting the action occur no later than Nov. 14, 2022.

“It is vital that the agency prioritize this issue and provide relief to the nearly seven thousand applicants that were identified as grant awardees in 2021 but never received funding,” the legislators wrote. “In July 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight that stated that as of June 2022, $180 million of RRF funds remained unobligated. As you are no doubt aware, approximately 177,000 restaurants that applied to the program did not receive grants.”

It is inexcusable for the SBA not to dispense available funds to help the nation’s struggling main street businesses, the legislators said.

“Beyond releasing remaining available funds, the SBA must continue conducting thorough retrieval efforts to recapture funding given to ineligible applicants, accepted fraudulently, or otherwise able to be returned,” the legislators concluded. “Once recovered, these dollars must immediately be disbursed to those eligible businesses that have applied for and need these grants.”

The lawmakers have requested that the SBA provide Congress with a detailed plan and timeline to distribute unobligated RRF funding, as well as detailed information regarding progress in retrieving misallocated funds.