On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced he had directed Republicans in Congress to end talks on a stimulus bill intended to boost the country’s pandemic-stricken economy.
...request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business. I have asked...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
Later in the evening, he tweeted that both houses of Congress should “IMMEDIATELY” revive the Paycheck Protection Program and approve funds for airlines and another round of stimulus checks, although he did not specifically say that the negotiations would resume, leaving the logistics of these approvals in limbo.
Industry associations, which have been increasing calls for increased support, were quick to issue statements criticizing the decision to end negotiations.
Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, called the decision “unacceptable and unconceivable” when millions of Americans are out of work and thousands of small businesses are struggling. “It’s time for our leaders in Washington to put politics aside and chart a bipartisan path forward to help businesses and employees in the hardest-hit industries. Millions of jobs and the livelihoods of people who have built their small business for decades are just withering away because our leaders in Washington are prioritizing politics over people. America’s hotel industry is on the brink of collapse. We can’t afford to let thousands of small businesses die and all of the jobs associated with them be lost for many years.”
The AHLA recently spearheaded the formation of the “COVID Relief Now,” a new coalition of more than 230 public and private sector groups, imploring Congress to not leave town for the 2020 elections without passing additional COVID economic relief. The group released a new ad, “No Recess without Relief,” this week.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel association, similarly expressed “deep concern” over the breakdown of discussions.
“With hundreds of thousands of jobs hanging in the balance, the business travel sector and the American economy need help now, not a month from now,” said Dave Hilfman, the GBTA’s interim executive director. “Our association and its members urge the administration and Congressional leaders not to wait on a relief package, because without additional financial support from the U.S government, companies nationwide will be at serious risk of a meltdown.”
Hilfman noted that the near-complete shutdown of business travel in the U.S. and internationally has negatively impacted the entire travel ecosystem, including travel agencies, hotels, ground transportation and airlines: “If the economy is to come roaring back, business travel will be a major player. We need the travel system to be ready to meet the demand.”
“The breakdown of the negotiations over the next round of economic stimulus represents the absolute dysfunction of our government,” said AAHOA President and CEO Cecil P. Staton. “Millions of Americans remain out of work. Tens of thousands of small businesses need a lifeline to survive this pandemic and need real relief now. Americans deserve a government that will not forestall vital economic stimulus to score cheap political points. The future of countless small businesses and the millions of jobs they create is at stake. America’s hotel owners call on our elected leaders to negotiate in good faith and broker a deal as soon as possible to help small businesses keep the lights on.”
“Hardworking Americans whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism cannot wait until after the election for relief,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The reality is that small businesses in every pocket of America are shuttering—they needed relief months ago, which has been made clear week after week.
“With millions of Americans suffering, it is woefully shortsighted to end relief negotiations. New data from Tourism Economics shows that, without immediate aid, 50 percent of all travel-supported jobs will be lost by December—an additional loss of 1.3 million jobs. As travel supported 11 percent of all pre-pandemic jobs, it is simply not possible for the U.S. to expect a nationwide economic recovery without meaningful federal relief.
“On behalf of America’s travel workers, we are disheartened in the extreme that Congress and the administration failed to reach agreement on the relief this industry so desperately needed, despite clear evidence of mounting harm.
“U.S. Travel will continue advocating for relief for the millions of travel industry workers and small businesses who do so much for our economy.”