This GOP lawmaker is now advocating for the same restaurant revitalization funding he voted against
According to Syracuse.com, President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan designated $28.6 billion in funding to assist restaurant and bar owners in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic; more than five times the amount Katko is now requested. The stimulus package provided restaurant owners with federal grants to cover pandemic-related revenue losses.
Although Democrats did manage to pass the bill with a 220-211 along party lines, they did so barely. The New York lawmaker was one of 210 House Republican lawmakers who opposed the bill. On Thursday, Katko and two other House Republican lawmakers penned a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging them to consider developing a deal to revitalize the COVID-related restaurant fund.
"These entities are the beating heart of every community, but the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put the survival of these small businesses on the line every day," the letter said. "The impact on these businesses causes a ripple effect impacting supply chains, local farmers, and employees."
House Republican lawmakers' latest efforts come approximately three months after they waged war on the American Rescue Plan. At the time, Katko deeply criticized the stimulus package price tag.
"With a price tag of nearly $2 trillion, this bill will become one of the largest partisan spending measures ever passed by Congress and leave an unprecedented financial burden for generations to come," Katko said after voting against the legislation in March.
Despite the price tag, Syracuse.com does highlight some of the aspects of the bill Katko did support. The items he supported included "provisions to strengthen Covid-19 vaccination and testing programs, assist working families, and aid struggling businesses" in addition to "setting aside $350 billion in federal grants to state and local governments – a provision that resulted in a $123 million windfall for Syracuse and $89 million for Onondaga County."
But even though Katko admired many line items within the bill, he still opted to stand with Republicans who opposed the package.