President Joe Biden made a lot of promises during his presidential campaign, and for his first 100 days in office, the career politician seemed to be focusing on undoing everything former President Donald Trump had put into place. He also wanted to make sure Americans were vaccinated against the coronavirus and developed his American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help small business owners and farmers with loans during the pandemic. From the migrant surge across the border to the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attacks to inflation and unemployment, Biden’s first few months sitting behind the Resolute Desk seems not to be going so well. Now the ARPA is sparking lawsuits against the administration over the allegedly racist way funding is determined.
In today’s woke world, civil unrest breeds not only lawlessness but hypocrisy. Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests destroy whole sections of American cities, entire city blocks are taken over – and all this is tolerated; even described by one Democrat as a “summer of love.” Meanwhile, a pro-Trump demonstration at the Capitol that resulted in relatively minimal damage and violence is labeled an insurrection.
The left has insisted everything is racist or white privilege, and the president has vowed to establish better racial equality. Well now, the tables have turned and the courts will have to determine if giving the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the Farmer Loan Forgiveness Program (both part of the ARPA) monies to people of color and women first while white males sit on the sidelines is constitutional.
The Lawsuits Begin
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has been busy lately filing lawsuits against the president on behalf of a restaurant owner and five farmers. Antonio Vitolo, the owner of Jake’s Bar and Grill in Tennessee, is one of the plaintiffs. “I do not want special treatment,” he said. “I just want to be treated equally under the law. I am opposed to race and sex discrimination, and I would hope my government lived up to the same principle.”
In Vitolo’s case, WILL’s lawsuit is directed at the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) for allegedly choosing recipients based on race and gender for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion program authorized by the ARPA. According to WILL:
“The law requires the SBA to give priority preference to restaurants owned by certain minorities and women, while bumping white males and other minorities to the back of the line, for funds available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and only until they run out.”
In a statement, WILL said Vitolo, a white male whose wife is Hispanic and owns 50% of the business, applied for the grant on the first day, “but the SBA will not process his application until all minority and female applications received during the first 21 days of the administration of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund are fulfilled.” The company added, “Vitolo may receive no COVID relief funds as a result.”
In April, WILL filed a lawsuit on behalf of five farmers from Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The firm charged that the American Rescue Plan was unconstitutional race discrimination because of a “provision to offer loan forgiveness based on racial categories.” It added: “Each plaintiff would be eligible for the federal loan forgiveness program, but for their race.”
Adam Faust, a double-amputee from Wisconsin who has a dairy and is one of the plaintiffs, said, “There should absolutely be no federal dollars going anywhere just based on race. The economic impact from COVID-19 didn’t hurt any race more than another as far as agriculture goes.”
According to WILL:
“The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), President Joe Biden’s signature COVID-19 relief legislation signed in March, provides billions of dollars of debt relief to ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers and ranchers. But the law’s definition of ‘socially disadvantaged’ includes explicit racial classifications: farmers and ranchers must be Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan native, Hispanic or Latino, or Asian American or Pacific Islander. Other farmers—white farmers, for example—are ineligible.”
President and General Counsel for WILL, Rick Esenberg, said:
“Under the guise of pandemic relief, the American Rescue Plan Act enables the federal government to engage in illegal and unconstitutional race and sex discrimination. This is ugly, pernicious, and toxic. We will fight it wherever it shows up.”
The two lawsuits have been filed, asking the court to issue an injunction and a declaratory judgment that the “administration” of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the racial classifications in the Farmer Loan Forgiveness Program are unconstitutional. Furthermore, WILL is asking for a temporary restraining order and injunction to “halt the ongoing harm resulting from race and sex discrimination.”
Read more from Kelli Ballard.