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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 McConnellHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Democrats see opportunity in GOP feud with business Biden resists calls to give hard-hit states more vaccines than others MORE (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Pence pleaded with military officials to 'clear the Capitol' on Jan. 6: AP Democrats see political winner in tax fight MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border MORE (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRepublican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border Harris in difficult starring role on border 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 MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says 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.