May 12, 2020
From Tori Emerson Barnes at 5:55 PM on March 12:
Earlier this afternoon, House Democrats unveiled their draft of the next round of coronavirus relief legislation, a $3 trillion package with a number of notable provisions for our industry. Relevant summaries can be found here and here. While we expect the final bill to look substantially different once negotiations with Republicans begin in earnest, we are pleased with the show of support for our industry contained in the bill.
Most notably, the bill expands eligibility of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to 501(c) nonprofit organizationsâa development that U.S. Travel has extensively advocated for in order to provide additional support to DMOs. In addition, the bill expands and enhances the PPP by:
- Providing flexible loan forgiveness through December 31 to cover both payroll and nonpayroll expenses
- Modifying the deadline for rehiring employees to December 31, 2020, and provides exemptions if employers are unable to rehire their employees
However, we were disappointed the bill did not take it a step further by allowing quasi-government DMOs to receive PPP loans. In addition, the bill does not increase maximum PPP loan amounts. U.S. Travel will continue to aggressively engage with Congress to secure relief for DMOs of all statuses and sizes, and enhance the PPP program to provide essential relief.
There are also several important supplemental appropriations provisions, including:
- $1 trillion in relief for state and local governments
- An additional $20 billion in Community Development Block Grants
- Funding for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing at the state and local level
- General Fund revenue to replace any shortfalls in the Airport and Airways Trust Fund
- Funding for highways and transit
As the debate on the next relief package picks up, we expect significant changes will eventually be made in Senate and that debate on a final bill could extend through the next month or more. In both Chambers, we will continue advocating for provisions that benefit the entirety of our industry. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.
Tori Emerson Barnes
Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy
U.S. Travel Association