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U. S. TRAVEL: PUBLIC AFFAIRS UPDATE

Mar 25, 2020

From Tori Emerson Barnes, USTA Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy
9:05 PM, March 25

EDITORS NOTE: The CARES Act was approved by the Senate late last night

Congress and the administration are close to an agreement on the CARES Act to help businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This is the largest economic relief package in our nation's history. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote tonight or early tomorrow, and the House intends to vote tomorrow. President Trump has pledged to quickly sign the bill into law.


New text was just released tonight; however, the most recent previous version includes major provisions U.S. Travel fought for to deliver economic support to travel businesses, travel workers and their families. Congress heard the voice of a united travel industry and significantly expanded the legislation's size and scope to deliver even broader assistance to our industry. We are grateful to lawmakers for hearing and acting on the immediate needs of this deeply impacted industry.

We know many of you have questions about the plan's details, eligibility guidelines and how to access assistance. We are working closely with Congress and the administration and will provide this information to you as soon as it is available at ustravel.org/ReliefResources.

To read a summary of the bill, click here. While legislative details may change as work advances to finalize the package, the Act's highlights include:

* $377 billion in loans and loan forgiveness for small travel businesses: The bill provides small travel businesses (500 employees or less), self-employed individuals, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits with enhanced and expedited Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, which will be made available quickly through community banks. Loan recipients can receive tax-free forgiveness on a portion of the loan, equal to 8-weeks of payroll and other expenses.
* $454 billion in federally backed financial assistance for impacted businesses: The bill provides $454 billion through the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to assist impacted travel businesses and governmental entities through secured loans, loan guarantees and other financial measures. The broad eligibility under this program ensures any impacted business or organization, including large or mid-sized businesses or DMOs classified as political subdivisions or 501(c)(6) nonprofits, can access the cash they need to keep workers employed and stay afloat through the worst months of this crisis.
* Tax relief to mitigate losses and spur recovery: The bill allows affected businesses to temporarily defer tax liability, access an Employee Retention Tax Credit, and allow for a carryback of the Net Operating Loss (NOL) Deduction.
* Grants for impacted tourism businesses and airports: The bill provides $10 billion in airport grants to support vital operations and provides $6.5 billion in Community Development and Economic Development Administration grants for economic injuries caused by COVID-19, including the tourism industry.
When enacted, the CARES Act will be an important step toward delivering broad-based relief across our industry, but there's more work to do. Congress is already preparing for another legislative relief package, and U.S. Travel will continue to fight to ensure every segment of our industry gets the help it so desperately needs.

The support of a united travel industry has made a huge difference. Thank you for sharing your stories and making our collective voice heard.

Best,

Tori Barnes
Tori Emerson Barnes

Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy

U.S. Travel Association