Is Joe Biden's Covid relief plan discriminatory? Restaurants Revitalization Fund prioritizes non-White owners

The Small Business Administration is opening the relief application process as part of Biden's American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, allowing owners of restaurants, bars, and other venues to apply for federal relief to sustain their businesses amid stringent pandemic restrictions


                            Is Joe Biden's Covid relief plan discriminatory? Restaurants Revitalization Fund prioritizes non-White owners
President Joe Biden signs executive actions in the Oval Office of the White House on January 28, 2021, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden's “Restaurants Revitalization Fund” (RRF) will prioritize restaurants owned by women and minority groups over those owned by White men while doling out federal relief in light of the ongoing health crisis.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is opening the relief application process as part of Biden's American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, allowing owners of restaurants, bars, and other venues to apply for federal relief to sustain their businesses amid stringent pandemic restrictions.

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According to Breitbart News, the plan allows business owners to apply for relief of up to $10 million per business and up to $5 million per physical address. The plan dictates that business owners are not obligated to repay the funds as long as they spend it all by March 2023. However, the relief is reportedly being prioritized based on race, gender, and whether business owners qualify as “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.”

For instance, White men who are not Veterans of the United States Armed Forces are not eligible for funding during the so-called "priority period." RRF guidelines state that the SBA is prioritizing funding for “small business owned by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in front of a portrait of Abraham Lincoln during an event at the State Dining Room of the White House on May 5, 2021, in Washington, DC. Biden delivered remarks on his administration’s implementation of the American Rescue Plan. (Getty Images)

In order to qualify for priority funding, the business must be “at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged and if the management and daily business operations of the applicant are controlled by one or more women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individual.”

As reported by Breitbart News, the Biden administration has defined “socially and economically disadvantaged” business owners as those who fulfill any of the following criteria:

— Part of an “economically disadvantaged Indian tribe”
— “Subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias”
— Black American
— Hispanic American
— Native American, including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian
— Asian Pacific American
— Subcontinent Asian American

The guidelines also state that in order to determine whether an applicant is “economically disadvantaged," the SBA “will look at whether the net worth of the individual claiming disadvantage is less than $750,000” and “will also look at whether the adjusted gross income of the individual averaged over the preceding three years exceeds $350,000."

The Biden administration has used similar race-based priority models in other federal programs, per the report. One of these, a federal loan forgiveness program, sparked a lawsuit this month from a group of White farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and South Dakota, who alleged that they were excluded from the program because of the color of their skin.

It's worth noting that former President Donald J Trump's administration, unlike the current administration, approved relief funds for small businesses based on the amount of revenue they had lost due to lockdowns and other measures. For example, it prioritized processing and funding for those who lost revenue of 90 percent or more during the pandemic.

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