Representative Robin Kelly, D-Il, said she was proud to have voted for the $ 28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and Alice Davis, owner of Bergstein’s NY Deli in Chicago Heights, said that without the money from this fund, Bergstein’s and other southern countries suburban restaurants would have gone out of business during the pandemic.
At a press conference outside Bergstein’s on Monday, September 13, Kelly and Davis, a Homewood resident, hailed the Revitalization Fund as a lifeline for many small businesses.
“Bergstein’s has been here for 13 years and is a gem in the Southern Suburbs,” said Kelly who represents Homewood and Flossmoor in Illinois’ 2nd District. “But like so many other restaurants across Chicagoland and the nation, this family-run grocery store was at risk of closing due to the pandemic.
“We adopted the US bailout to help businesses and restaurants weather this crisis. We have also included billions of dollars in aid specifically for restaurants.
Davis, thanking Kelly, said the deli is “a family business. This is my son, my daughter and myself. […] We kept our take out but we lost a lot of catering because we didn’t have big parties and things. I can say we wouldn’t be open today without the help.
“As of the end of June, 4,542 restaurants, bars and other dining establishments in Illinois received $ 1.4 billion in funding (from the) Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” Kelly said. “I am so happy to see this money coming into our communities to support our small businesses. This is especially important now, as the Delta variant is forcing more and more restaurants and small businesses to limit their operations again.
“The US bailout was one of the most important economic pieces of legislation since the New Deal, and I am proud to have voted for it.
Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez echoed Kelly’s comments.
“Small businesses like the Bergstein Deli make up over 50% of the revenue our cities receive, whether it’s through Cook County or the state of Illinois,” Gonzalez said. “So we’re all connected here. When they fight, we fight. I want to thank Congressman Kelly and the US Congress for their commitment and for allocating this $ 28 billion to the restaurant industry. .
Chicago Heights Ald. George Brassea (5th) thanked Kelly for “being our voice on Capitol Hill and taking care of us in 5th district”.
Also in attendance were members of the Chicago Heights Police and Fire Department, Prairie State College administrators and employees, and other members of the community.
During the press conference, Kelly also said she supported the two infrastructure bills proposed by House Democrats and would vote for them.
“I am one of the supporters of the care economy as we like to call it. I know you say ‘human infrastructure’, ”Kelly said. “I definitely support the infrastructure package. We need it.”
Prior to Senate negotiations, the infrastructure package included $ 45 billion to replace lead pipes in the country’s water supply system. The bill only includes $ 15 billion for the lead phase-out initiative. In June 2019, residents of University Park and Monee Township were warned by the Aqua Illinois water company not to drink potable water due to dangerous amounts of lead.
The proposed infrastructure package includes funding to rebuild the country’s roads, schools and high-speed train. It adds benefits for vision, hearing and dental care to Medicare and lowers the age of eligibility. The package includes another bill, the American Families Plan, which contains a plan to make community colleges such as Prairie State College free for two years.
“I support whatever we can do to get these two bills passed,” Kelly said. “People need help. And we can do it. And we have to do it.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, lauded by Kelly, was part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.