A THIRD PHASE of federal economic aid for the economy to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled in the House of Representatives. While Congress continues to debate the bill, AAHOA is asking them to put politics aside.
The Senate’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act failed in the House Sunday as Democrats complained it didn’t do enough to help workers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would not support the CARES Act and instructed members to produce their own version of the legislation, according to the American Action Forum.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said there is “great unhappiness” among Democrats about the bill, specifically the inclusion of a proposed $500 billion fund for distressed companies, according to CNN.
“This is not a bipartisan proposal,” Warren said. “This is a Republican proposal.”
Cecil Staton, AAHOA’s president and CEO, urged lawmakers to set aside politics.
“This is a critical time for America’s small businesses and workers. They simply cannot wait. Congress must come together and do the right thing,” Staton said. “While we believe that the CARES Act does not provide enough relief to small business owners or their employees, it is a step towards where we need to be. Millions of Americans face unemployment, and businesses face a devastating liquidity crisis. Our economy is imploding, and the costs of partisan gridlock have never been greater.”
Specifically, Staton said the maximum on loans made available to hotels and other small businesses to cover payroll and operating costs needs to be raised.
“This bill proposes a multiplier of 2.5 the average monthly payroll. America’s hoteliers are seeking for the maximum loan amount available to be four times the annual average monthly operating expenses, with a cap of $10 million, to ensure that they can meet their employees’ needs, meet operational costs, and continue to pay the mortgages on their properties,” he said. “The failure to advance the legislation beyond a procedural vote is a grim reminder that partisan politics is capable of trumping the American people’s needs.”
A day before the CARES Act stalled, the U.S. Travel Association had praised the progress being made on the bill while pressing for its passage.
“It is critical that the Phase 3 relief package include strong measures to preserve the jobs of travel workers both during and while recovering from this catastrophic national public health disaster,” Roger Dow, USTA president and CEO, said in the statement. “The amount of liquidity made available to businesses must be bold at this dire time—at least $250 billion or more. Also, measures must be included to ensure that: businesses are better able to utilize the SBA loan option quickly; to offer loan forgiveness coupled with employee retention; and to provide access for properties and facilities with 500 employees. Without this help, as many as 4.6 million employees in travel-related jobs could lose their jobs in the next six to eight weeks.”
Last week, Dow joined Chip Rogers, American Hotel & Lodging Association president and CEO, and the CEOs of major hotel companies in meeting with President Trump to discuss the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.