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 McConnellMemorial Day weekend deals latest economic blow to travel industry Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K MORE (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Lies, damned lies and the truth about Joe Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans States, companies set up their own COVID-19 legal shields MORE (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts 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. 

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“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 Terner MnuchinSenate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December Republicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries 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.