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The formation of a new coalition, which unites a cross-section of members from both the private and public sectors, has a clear message for lawmakers: “No recess without relief.”
The group, which was formed yesterday and dubbed the COVID Relief Now Coalition, is quickly gaining momentum. In the first 29 minutes of its press conference this morning, the membership — which includes city and county governments, small businesses, associations and more — grew from 150 to 175 organizations. Travel industry members include the U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, The American Hotel & Lodging Association and more.
Those who have signed onto the initiative are calling on Congress to act swiftly to pass a bipartisan stimulus package offering financial relief to the hardest-hit industries nearly six months into the coronavirus pandemic.
Their goals include taking immediate action to replenish the funds within the Paycheck Protection Program; revising the Main Street Lending Program to allow businesses of all sizes to have access to much-needed funds; sending dollars directly to cities that rely heavily on tourism; widening the financial aid eligibility to include destination management organizations and visitors and convention bureaus; and more.
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“It is time for Congress to do their job,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities. “This is not partisan. Life, liberty and the pursuit of having an opportunity in America is not ‘Democrat’ or ‘Republican.’ It is just what we promise in America. And we need those dollars.”
This is not partisan. Life, liberty and the pursuit of having an opportunity in America is not ‘Democrat’ or ‘Republican.’ It is just what we promise in America. And we need those dollars.
The COVID Relief Now Coalition will outline its requests in a letter sent to Congress today, calling on both parties, who can “take credit if there’s a deal, or [share] blame when there isn’t.”
RELATED: The Travel Industry's Message for Congress: The Time to Act Is Now
With more than half of industry jobs eliminated as of May 1 — and an unemployment rate twice as high as in the first year in The Great Depression — U.S. Travel’s Roger Dow reiterated how critical federal aid will be in reviving the struggling travel industry, which was responsible for one in 10 jobs prior to the pandemic. A whopping 83% of travel businesses did not have access to the first several rounds of financial aid.
He called this time “the darkest hour” for businesses and workers and cited “evidence of acute pain in all corners of the country.”
The DetailsU.S. Travel Associationwww.ustravel.org