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Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Democratic Women’s Caucus Urge Protection of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses

Jul 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last week, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) sent a letter to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Guzman urging her to assist businesses that have had their Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants rescinded.

The RRF was created in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to provide grants to restaurants suffering the financial effects of the pandemic. The ARP included a priority window for the RRF where for the first 21 days, “disadvantaged communities” could apply for grants before the general public. The SBA defined this priority group to include women and minority owned businesses.

A restaurant that did not meet these criteria sued, claiming that this was unconstitutional discrimination. A Federal Court agreed and ordered the SBA to rescind the loans given to these businesses. As a result of compliance with this order, the SBA rescinded grants made to minority and women owned businesses and stated they would process these applications after all others. Because the RRF has received more applications than they have funding for, it likely means these businesses will not receive funding.

“We are writing regarding Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants that were rescinded by the Small Business Administration (SBA),” the Caucuses wrote. “The RRF is an incredibly valuable program that has been essential to keeping restaurants in business. By requiring the rescission of grants that have been previously awarded, the Sixth District Court of Appeals[1] ruling in Antonio Vitolo, et al v. Isabella Guzman is stripping away one of the last lifelines available to many minority and women-owned businesses.”

“The implications of the court’s ruling are incredibly serious for many minority and women-owned businesses, and we call on your agency to do everything possible to honor the grants that were given and to provide relief funding to those applicants who through no fault of their own have now been pushed to the back of the line. These politically motivated lawsuits seek not to improve the function of the RRF, but to disrupt the SBA’s ability to assist the businesses who are in the most dire need of assistance, and we would encourage your agency take all necessary steps to fulfill your mission to support small businesses who have lost their funding.”

The letter was led by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Dr. Raul Ruiz and signed by Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu; and Democratic Women’s Caucus Co-Chairs Jackie Speier, Lois Frankel, and Brenda Lawrence; and Vice Chairs Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia.

Full text of the letter can be viewed HERE.

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.