Tentative Relief Agreement Put Forth as 9 in 10 Voters Want More Aid

WASHINGTON—As a tentative bipartisan relief agreement was put forth by members of Congress, the U.S. Travel Association released results of a recent survey that found that 87% of respondents—all of whom voted in the Nov. 3 election—believe there should be another round of coronavirus-related relief from Washington.

The announcement of a tentative $908 billion relief agreement from the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and some senators drew praise from Roger Dow, president/CEO, U.S. Travel Association, and Chip Rogers, president/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

“The relief framework proposed today is welcome evidence that there is bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress for a deal—just like among the American public at large—and we urgently need Congress to act now,” Dow said.

Rogers said, “The hotel industry has consistently urged lawmakers to grant relief to those affected by the pandemic since March in order to save millions of jobs and small businesses. We applaud the Problem Solvers Caucus for introducing a bipartisan, bicameral coronavirus stimulus bill. We need Congress to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis.

“Every hour Congress doesn’t act hotels lose 400 jobs, and we hope this proposal helps to break the partisan stalemate in Washington. Without action from Congress, half of U.S. hotels could close with massive layoffs in the next six months. Waiting until the new Congress is untenable for our crippled industry. A relief bill before the end of the year would be a critical lifeline for our industry to help us retain and rehire the people who power our industry, our communities and our economy. We urge Congress to come together swiftly and in a bipartisan manner to find comprehensive solutions to move our country forward through this crisis.”

Survey Finds Bipartisan Support for Relief
The survey, conducted for U.S. Travel by the research firm Heart + Mind Strategies LLC, was taken from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 voters. It found strong majority support for another relief bill among every voter group, demographic subgroup and geographic region.

U.S. Travel represents the U.S. economic sector—America’s travel and tourism industry—that is suffering by far the most from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total travel spending in the U.S. is projected to finish the year down 45% from 2019, and travel—which prior to the pandemic supported employment for one out of every 10 Americans—now accounts for more than a third of all the current unemployment in the country.

U.S. Travel has been pleading for months for leaders to reach agreement on a fresh round of relief so that travel businesses can keep their doors open long enough to rehire their workers when conditions finally improve.

“The urgent needs of one of the country’s biggest job-creating sectors have been clear for some time, and it is now also clear that the voting public strongly desires action from Washington,” said Dow. “Advancing a bipartisan coronavirus relief measure is both the right thing to do, and the right thing to do politically. And it needs to be done now, not in the next Congress, because large numbers of our small-business employers simply won’t survive that long, and their lost jobs will then be permanent.”

At a minimum, U.S. Travel has said, rescuing travel jobs requires enhancements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to allow a second draw of funds; an expansion of PPP’s eligibility to allow nonprofit and quasi-governmental destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to access aid; and an extension of the Coronavirus Relief Program through the end of 2021.

The survey released by U.S. Travel also found that four in five voters (79%) want the two political parties to work together on policy, up slightly from a similar poll conducted in 2018 (75%). That result includes overwhelming majorities of both Biden voters (82%) and Trump voters (76%).