The lawsuit alleges that the terms of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund are biased against men and White people.
America First Legal, a conservative advocacy group founded by former Trump aide Stephen Miller, has filed yet another lawsuit against the Biden administration, this time alleging racial discrimination in the disbursement of coronavirus relief funds.
According to The Hill, the lawsuit takes specific issue with the Small Business Administration’s handling of $28.6 billion from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
America First Legal claims that the terms of the fund require that the SBA “discriminate among restaurants according to the race and sex of the owner” by mandating that Small Business Administration officials “prioritize awarding grants” to restaurants owned by women and minorities.
This prioritization was expected to take place for the first 21 days of reviews and awards.
“These race and sex preferences are patently unconstitutional, and the Court should promptly enjoin their enforcement. Doing so will promote equal rights under the law for all American citizens and promote efforts to stop racial discrimination,” the lawsuit states.
Miller himself has explicitly accused the federal government of practicing discrimination through this policy.
“Few industries have been hit harder by lockdowns and restrictions than the restaurant and bar industry,” Miller said in a statement earlier this week.
“Yet, as these restaurant owners, operators and workers try to pick up the pieces and rebuild their businesses, they are facing a new and insidious threat: racial discrimination from the government,” he added. “[This] decision from the Biden Administration to determine eligibility and priority for restaurant relief funds based upon race is profoundly illegal and morally outrageous.”
The Hill notes that women, veterans, and socially and economically under-privileged groups have already applied for about $29 billion in aid via different SBA programs and grants.
The lawsuit is startlingly similar to another filed by America First Legal in April.
In that complaint, Miller’s group challenged another aspect of the American Rescue Plan, which provides aid to “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.”
“The Department of Agriculture interprets this phrase to include African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders,” the lawsuit states. “But white farmers and ranchers are not included within the definition of ‘socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,’ making them ineligible for aid under these federal programs.”
America First Legal has also filed lawsuits against the Biden administration’s decision to deport all asylum-seekers detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, since that decision included an exemption for children; Miller wanted everyone, regardless of age, to be sent back over the frontier.