Restaurant industry leader: Coronavirus aid urgently needed to battle 'fight of our lives'

'We need Congress to pass the Heroes Act,' said executive chef Katie Button

The restaurant industry “needs Congress to pass the Heroes Act" now, Katie Button, the executive chef and CEO of Katie Button Restaurants, said Thursday.

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“We need Congress to pass the Heroes Act and in it, the specific aid for the restaurant industry that is outlined," Button told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria."

"The $120 billion grant package that is put in that bill, and we need them to do it now before they go home for the election season because, honestly, if our elected officials go home to campaign right now while restaurants daily are permanently shutting their doors, workers are being laid off and our farmers are losing that business, it sends a message to the people of America that they don’t care,” Button added.

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House Democrats on Monday unveiled a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package intended to "avert catastrophe for schools, small businesses, restaurants, performance spaces, airline workers and others."

The package is an updated version of the Heroes Act, which lawmakers passed in May. In a statement to her Democratic colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the update will provide the necessary resources "to protect lives, livelihoods, and the life of our democracy over the coming months."

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"It has been more than four months since House Democrats sent the GOP Senate $3.4 trillion in desperately needed coronavirus relief grounded in science and data, and Leader (Mitch) McConnell hit the pause button," Pelosi said. "In our negotiations with the White House since then, Democrats offered to come down a trillion dollars if Republicans would come up a trillion dollars. Then, we offered to come down $200 billion more, even as the health and economic crisis has worsened and the needs have only grown."

The House speaker said the bill is necessary to address the health and economic concerns of working families in the U.S.

Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are expected to hold a vote as early as Thursday before going home to campaign ahead of the November election.

Democratic lawmakers have been hounding leadership for months to put another proposal on the table after relief expired for millions of Americans. But even if the updated version of the Heroes Act passes, it stands little chance of becoming law.

Talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed in recent days after the two negotiations between the two helped narrowly avoid a federal government shutdown on Sept. 30.

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Button said that she owns two restaurants in Asheville, N.C., a city of “almost 100,000 people,” and that her business lost $3.2 million in revenue this year. Furthermore, Button noted that 24 independent restaurants closed in Asheville.

“That’s continuing to increase on a daily basis.”

“If you look at that, that’s a million dollars that would have gone to our farmers and suppliers and 1.5 million would have gone to workers in our area,” Button explained.

Button went on to say, “Winter is coming. We got the Q1 -- January, February and March... Typically, we see a 30% reduction in sales in that time from December to January every year… people want to eat outside, and outdoor dining is going to disappear. It’s not as simple as putting heaters outside; there are fire code considerations."

While Button pointed out that there is "no quick fix,"  restaurants "are in the fight of our lives."

"Independent restaurants, we will fight, we just need the aid to be able to do it,” she said.

Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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