BY SABRINA BATES
DRESDEN (August 13) – U.S. Congressman David Kustoff has been making rounds through District 8 in what he is dubbing, “The Diner Tour.” The 8th District is made up of counties throughout West Tennessee. Memphis is excluded from the 8th District.
Kustoff stopped by Kountry Kitchen on Highway 22 in Dresden Thursday, August 13, 2020, as part of his diner tour to visit with constituents and local leaders. He said as part of the West Tennessee, he spends more time listening than talking. His goal was to gauge the economic landscape for small business owners, particularly those in the food industry, to hear concerns in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
When business owners were asked to close their doors to help flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, the restaurant industry faced significant losses.
Kustoff said he wanted to determine how many businesses took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Loans available through the Small Business Administration under a recent federal stimulus bill. The congressman noted as he tours the region, he is seeking input from business owners to help model needs for future stimulus funding if it becomes available and what that funding will look like for small business owners.
“We know restaurants and industries such as airline services and hotels have been hit hard in all of this. Many are only operating at 50-percent capacity. We need to look at a stimulus bill that helps these businesses. With such a bill, we need to ask what is the cost and can we afford such a bill,” Kustoff shared.
The congressman said both parties are on a 24-hour notice for negotiations for another potential stimulus package, similar to the bill passed in April allotting households that bring in less than $75,000 each year another $1,200 check. The program, similar to the one passed in the Spring, will consider incomes and adjust checks accordingly. The Congressional delegation is expected to return to Washington D.C. September 14, 2020, unless they are required to return sooner for stimulus package negotiations.