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Over 175 public and private sector groups ban together to call for no recess without relief

Over 175 public and private sector groups ban together to call for no recess without relief
© Bonnie Cash

A coalition of travel, hotel, franchise, and state and local government groups called for Congress to not go on recess without providing relief for sectors devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 175 organizations representing the public and private sector, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), International Franchise Association (IFA), National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Airlines for America and the US Travel Association, wrote a letter to congressional leadership on Wednesday.

“The public servants in Washington, D.C. are very focused on protecting their own jobs through the election but right now don’t really seem to care about protecting the jobs of the people they represent,” Chip Rogers, AHLA CEO, said on a call with reporters on Wednesday.

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House Democrats plan to bring their $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package to the floor on Wednesday if they don’t reach a deal with the White House. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said also said on Wednesday the White House’s counteroffer will be around $1.5 trillion. 

The coalition did not specify what dollar amount they want for a full package, but Rogers said an expanded and extended Paycheck Protection Program and Main Street Lending program are their main requests. 

“America needs leaders in Congress and the administration to listen to what small businesses are saying and pass a relief package now,” Robert Cresanti, IFA CEO, said on the call, adding that franchise small businesses need additional liquidity.

State and municipal governments are also in need of federal aid from another coronavirus relief package, which has been a point of contention during negotiations with Republicans reluctant to provide funding for cities.

“We’re not asking for a bail out, we’re acting for a partnership of federal assistance to make sure that local governments and the tourism that exists in these communities are not devastated even more,” Clarence Anthony, CEO of the National League of Cities, said on the call.

The Treasury Department announced on Tuesday it offered loans, authorized by the CARES Act, to seven major U.S. airlines, a move that Rogers said is not an option for the hotel industry. 

“[We] have utilized every tool in our arsenal to make Congress understand how much more dire the state of our industry could become absent another relief package. Unlike the airline industry, we are incredibly diverse, representing major brands, independent hotels, management companies, REIT’s, bed and breakfasts, and more more than half of which are small businesses,” he said.

“We are not asking for a hand out,” he added.