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Congressman Dan Meuser (R-9) visited five businesses in downtown Lebanon Thursday, April 21.

Meuser was joined on his tour by Mayor Sherry Capello, Lebanon County Commissioner Michael Kuhn, Senator Chris Gebhard, and Lebanon Chamber Board Chairman-elect Trevor Williams.

They visited Mamajuana Restaurant and Lounge, Snitz Creek Brewery, the Red Headed League Public House, Under the Bridge Cider Bar, and Wertz Candies.

Over the last year, Meuser has visited several counties within the 9th Congressional District to meet with local business owners and hear their concerns. This includes trips to Shamokin in September, Hamburg in November, Carbon County in December, Schuylkill Haven and Orwigsburg in January, and other locations.

“We’ve been going to most cities throughout the 9th congressional. We’ve probably done about six or so so far, maybe seven, maybe eight,” explained Meuser. “I’m on the Small Business Committee in Congress and the more we know from the real world, the better we are at our job assignments in Washington.

“There’s nothing better than hearing directly from small business owners and those who work for small businesses.”

Meuser noted that common concerns he has heard from business owners include financial hits due to the pandemic, rising supply costs, and difficulty finding employees.

“Very often we’ll go back and create legislation based on the feedback we receive or oppose legislation based on the feedback we receive,” he said.

One common topic of conversation Thursday was H.R. 3807, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021. It passed the House of Representatives 223-203, with Meuser voting no, and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate.

“Because we introduced a separate bill that was repurposing funds that were already not used from the previous RRF and PPP,” Meuser responded when asked by Kevin Smith of Under the Bridge Cidery why he had opposed the bill.

“My Democrat colleagues introduced a bill for new money, and many of us opposed it because we just wanted to repurpose funds,” he said. Meuser is a sponsor of H.R. 4568, which seeks to add to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund using existing funds.

The bill, if passed, would add $42 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which provides grants to eligible businesses impacted by the pandemic. Thus far, less than a third of applicants have received funding.

“I was okay with it passing,” Meuser said, “But I’d like to see ours come back and get it done that way, maybe save the taxpayers 60 billion bucks.”

Meuser, of Luzerne County, has served the 9th district since 2019 and will be running for reelection in November against Democrat Amanda Waldman of Lycoming County.

Lebanon County makes up around 20 percent of the population of the 9th district, as of the 2019 census.

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Emily Bixler

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.