Tourism industry calls for $300B in relief in coronavirus stimulus package

Tourism industry calls for $300B in relief in coronavirus stimulus package
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Thousands of travel organizations have teamed up on a letter calling on lawmakers to give the industry $300 billion in federal aid as the Senate negotiates a third coronavirus relief bill.

The letter was signed by 6,000 groups, including the U.S. Travel Association and organizations in transportation, lodging, recreation and entertainment, food and beverage, meetings, conferences and business events, travel advising and destination marketing. 

The groups are calling for the third coronavirus stimulus bill to include $300 billion for enhanced Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to the industry. 

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The U.S. Travel Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) had called for $150 billion in grants on Tuesday, but the new letter asks for increasing that loan amount as well as more financial assistance for severely impacted businesses through unsecured loans and loan guarantees.

Also, it seeks at least $10 billion in airport grants to pay debt service and maintain operations.

“Together we are grappling with the immediate and devastating impact of the current health crisis. Furloughs of American travel workers are happening right now. Travel to and within the United States has essentially ground to a stop due to the actions needed to halt the spread of coronavirus,” the groups wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFive issues that will define the months until the midterms  Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNews media's sausage-making obsession helps no one Klobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Schumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian MORE (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP governor says McCarthy should condemn Boebert's anti-Muslim remarks With Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE (R-Calif.).

The industry predicts it will cut 4.6 million jobs in the next six weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

McConnell plans to reach an agreement by midnight Friday on a third coronavirus package. He has set up the first vote related to the stimulus package for Sunday, in the event such a deal is reached. 

“Unfortunately, the unprecedented shutdown of the travel economy requires an even greater and more aggressive response to prevent millions of Americans from losing their jobs,” the groups wrote. 

Aviation groups, including Airlines for America also wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMajor Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report MORE and congressional leadership, requesting immediate action because their current economic environment is not sustainable.

The airline industry requested $50 billion in federal assistance in the form of grants, loans and tax relief.