Industry Organizations Issue Statements on Bipartisan COVID Relief Package

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Industry Organizations Issue Statements on Bipartisan COVID Relief Package

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Assn. (AHLA), Asian American Hotel Owners Assn. (AAHOA), and the U.S. Travel Assn. (USTA) have issued statements in response to the House & Senate compromise on the coronavirus relief package.

The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the AHLA:

“On behalf of the hotel industry, we applaud the House and Senate leadership, along with the Administration, for reaching a bipartisan compromise on this COVID economic relief package. This short-term relief package is a vital step toward helping the hotel industry survive this crisis. The proposed measure provides temporary relief over the next few months and will help thousands of hotels stay open and retain employees.

“For months, the hotel industry has been imploring lawmakers to help the people and industries that have been most affected by this crisis. After more than 250,000 individual grassroots actions taken by AHLA members, we are pleased to finally see a long-overdue agreement.

“The legislation contains many of the provisions AHLA has advocated for, including a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, increasing the size of PPP loans to 3.5 times payroll, and making PPP loan expenses tax-deductible. This will provide a critical lifeline for hotels and other businesses that have been decimated by the pandemic. Other hotel industry priorities include a one-year extension for Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) relief so that banks can continue working with borrowers to gain additional forbearance and debt relief, business meal deductibility through 2022, and expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit.

“We look forward to working with Congress and the new Administration on a longer-term stimulus package that will ensure our industry survives and is well positioned to help the country recover economically once the public health threat subsides.”

AAHOA Statement

AAHOA President & CEO Cecil P. Staton issued the following statement in response to congressional passage of the bipartisan bill:

“The lodging industry has been devastated by the effects of this pandemic, and the livelihoods for so many hoteliers and hotel employees are in peril. I am very pleased to see that their pleas have been heard by Congress today. As the hardest hit industry, hospitality needed another lifeline to survive for the next few months until additional capital relief is available, and this bill provides valuable time for our industry. We are grateful to our leaders for coming together for the good of the country.

“For hoteliers, the most significant components in this package include a second round of PPP funding to help keep employees on payroll during the most difficult time of year. We also particularly appreciate that congressional leaders understood the unique challenges faced by hoteliers and provided an increase in the PPP loan amounts to our industry. In addition to addressing payroll challenges, this bill also includes critical banking relief to enable hoteliers to defer mortgage payments for the near term. AAHOA members and our partners across lodging, banking, and small business, rallied together to fight for a year-long extension for troubled debt restructuring (TDR) classification and after much debate, our priority was included in the final bill. The legislation also includes more funding for Small Business Administration programs including 504, 7(a), and Economic Disaster Loans (EIDL). We are grateful for these inclusions because they are literally the difference between remaining open and going into foreclosure for countless hotel owners. I am proud that the tens of thousands of letters sent by AAHOA members over the past few weeks and months have resonated with our public officials.

“In these most challenging times for hotels in our nation’s history, we appreciate the bipartisanship displayed by congressional leadership and members across the country. We welcome this spirit to continue into the new year.

“Today is a big step in the right direction to helping in the survival of the lodging industry. We look forward to continuing this engagement to ensure our voices continued to be heard.”

USTA Statement

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement praising the coronavirus relief legislation passed by Congress, which contains numerous provisions championed by the struggling travel and tourism industry to help bring back economic activity and jobs:

“Seeing this bill make it across the finish line is a huge relief after months of struggle.

“This legislation is a lifeline for businesses and workers who have been hanging on by a thread. More than four million travel jobs have been lost this year, and this package includes long-needed provisions to help employers keep their lights on—a second draw on PPP funds for the hardest-hit businesses, eligibility for nonprofit destination marketing organizations, assistance to airports and concessionaires as well as airlines, and enhancements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit, among many others.

“Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy all deserve significant praise for seeing this tough effort through to completion. Hopefully now that this challenging legislative step has been overcome, we can head into the next Congress with momentum for further substantive measures to rejuvenate businesses and jobs.”