The National Restaurant Association released the following statement from Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs, in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Build Back Better Act:
“We are disappointed that the House passed the Build Back Better Act without including the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act. The last few months have been a stark reminder that restaurants are still on a pandemic rollercoaster. The loss of consumer confidence because of the delta variant, combined with rising food prices, supply chain shortages, and higher workforce pay created a perfect storm that wiped out our rebuilding momentum. Passing this bill without including RRF replenishment leaves thousands of small business restaurants teetering on the brink of closure.
“We are also concerned with several elements included in the final bill. At the beginning of the year, we specifically asked Congress to not pass any legislation that would harm restaurants as they rebuild. However, this bill newly applies the net investment income tax (NIIT) to active business income for pass-through businesses—which includes many small business restaurants. The last thing that restaurants and other small businesses across the nation need at this time is to be saddled with an additional $252 billion in new taxes.
“On top of that, the bill throws out 85 years of established business and labor law by imposing new and enhanced fines and personal liability for directors and officers. If this change stands, a business that made inadvertent or technical errors could face fines high enough to put them into bankruptcy. Workers deserve protections in the workplace and bad actors who violate labor law should be held accountable. But this change is essentially using a bludgeon to intimidate and punish businesses that make inadvertent errors or who believe they are acting within their legal rights and in accordance with labor law.
“We hope the Senate will address these concerns as the legislation moves forward.
“The final bill does include some provisions we recognize will help address workforce concerns across the economy including free universal Pre-K and expanded childcare subsidies. We are also pleased that the House recognized the value of apprenticeship programs like the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundations’ Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship, Restaurant Youth Registered Apprenticeship, and their apprenticeship opportunities for military personnel. The increased funding for programs like these will provide opportunity and training for people ready to advance their careers.”