U.S. Travel Encouraged by New Bipartisan COVID Relief Package

A bipartisan group of congressmembers has created a summary of their proposal for a new COVID-19 relief package. While CNN reports that negotiations continue, it notes that the White House is “officially back in the game on stimulus talks,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is “suggesting his own path forward,” and that this is just one such proposal and none are ready for a vote.

In total, the latest proposal is $908 billion. It would extend all pandemic unemployment insurance programs by 16 weeks, from their expiration at the end of December. In addition, a federal supplement of $300 per week will be available over the course of the 16 weeks.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will receive $300 billion for “the hardest small businesses.” It will be in the form of a forgivable loan. Eligibility would be for businesses with 300 or fewer employees and have sustained a 30 percent revenue loss in any quarter in 2020. Small 501(c)(6) organizations (that are not lobbyists and have 150 or fewer employees) would be eligible. Funding for Small Business Administration loan products would increase guarantee on 7(a) loans and reduce fees on 504 loans, provide Economic Injury Disaster Loan grant advances, and more.

Transportation funding will also be included. This will over an extension of the Payroll Support Program through March 31, 2021; funds will go directly to frontline aviation workers’ wages, salaries and benefits. Funding for airports, the motorcoach and bus industries and others (like passenger ferries) will also be included.

U.S. Travel Association EVP for public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on the announced Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020:

“We are very encouraged that the bipartisan deal framework includes a number of provisions that we have long been pushing as critical to rescuing businesses and jobs.

“In particular, the second draw on PPP funds and the expansion of eligibility to non-profit organizations that promote travel and tourism will be especially beneficial to America’s hardest-hit industry.

“This relief proposal package is wisely responsive to specific needs outlined by industries that are struggling to keep their doors open and retain employees. It’s been a long and hard road to see a deal, and while more will ultimately be necessary, this framework can position the U.S. economy for a stronger recovery if it survives the next stages.”

This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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