Congress analyzes economic stimulus for companies most affected by the pandemic, such as restaurants

Restaurants are some of the businesses that have suffered the most during the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Edwin Martínez / Impremedia

Faced with the wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant and that is complicating the operation of companies and restaurants in the United States again, some members of Congress are already weighing a new round of economic relief to support them to get ahead in this new stage of the pandemic.

The Washington Post revealed that lawmakers Democrats and Republicans have held discussions about another round of coronavirus stimulus spending while they seek to mitigate the Omicron variant and its threats to public health and economic recovery, given that due to its high contagion rate, different businesses begin to be affected again.

According to the information, efforts have focused on authorizing billions of dollars to help businesses such as restaurants, venues, gyms, and even minor league sports teams, facing another blow to their already hard-hit finances during the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker are at the forefront of the talks, and in December they produced a $ 68 billion proposal.

“We started with restaurants, but we are prepared to expand it if we can have the necessary support,” said Cardin, acknowledging that there are several industries with legitimate concerns.

At the White House, an official revealed to Insider that the Biden administration is “closely following” the Ómicron wave, although no final decision has been made to push for another aid plan for affected businesses.

“But we are not in the same place we were last year,” said the source, and commented that still there are leftover funds from the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill that could be reused.

North Dakota Republican Senator Kevin Cramer told Insider that he is open to an aid package targeting the restaurants, since it has been the sector most affected during the pandemic and one of the last to recover.

“It would be open to reasonable discussions in a bipartisan way,” Cramer said, “Keeping people working, keeping things happening, rather than just free money somewhere.”

Legislation would need at least 10 Republican senators to back the bill. for it to pass the Senate and get to the desk of President Joe Biden.

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