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Restaurants, airplane manufacturers and concert venues all stand to benefit from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package the Senate approved Saturday.
They are among the few industries that won targeted help in the massive spending bill.
Unlike its predecessor - the $2 trillion CARES Act, which proved a smorgasbord for corporate interests - the latest installment of federal aid focuses on funding state and local governments and schools and extra support for individuals.
Lawmakers snubbed a wide array of businesses pleading for help from Washington, D.C.
Gym operators and long-term senior care facilities are among those arguing Congress has left them facing further closures and layoffs even as the broader economic outlook brightens.
'When you see restaurants continuing to get financial relief, and yet those on the front lines of caring for the most vulnerable in this crisis are left out, I struggle with that,” said James Balda, president of Argentum, an association representing companies that run senior-living facilities.
His group unsuccessfully pushed for $5 billion in federal aid for the sector.
'The hope is by spring and early summer, things will have started to normalize, so businesses won't need a ton more aid,” said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
The bill, he said, 'reflects a shift toward focusing on making sure households and state and local governments are in good shape, rather than specific industries or the business sector broadly.”
Against that backdrop, the handful of interests that secured billions of dollars in new funding stand out.
The restaurant industry emerged as the bill's biggest private-sector winner.
The package establishes a $25 billion 'revitalization fund” for restaurants that will dole out grants to help them cover pandemic-related revenue losses, with businesses eligible for up to $5 million each.
Sean Kennedy, the National Restaurant Association's vice president for public affairs, called the fund the 'the culmination of a one-year effort” to secure a dedicated pot of money for the sector.
But it has racked up a series of smaller lobbying victories in pandemic relief measures, including a carve-out in the Payroll Protection Program that granted restaurants a higher loan limit than other businesses.
In the latest bill, the restaurant group helped push for the expansion of a tax credit for companies that keep workers on their payrolls.
And they lobbied against a federal minimum wage increase many Democrats wanted to include, endorsing the package once they were confident it would not include such a hike or end the tipped minimum wage.
Kennedy said restaurants deserve the special attention.
'No industry has lost more jobs and more revenue than restaurants,” he said, pegging the sector's revenue losses at $255 billion.
'We were the first industry to be shut down, we'll be the last to reopen, and we have a very long road to recovery in front of us.”