It’s another mixed bag this week for the next stimulus/aid package as politics is getting real fewer than four weeks from Election Day. It’s a showdown between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. With the added wrinkle of President Donald Trump weighing in via Twitter in a confusing back and forth to first pledge his support for a relief bill, then tabling it until after the election, then walking it back and pushing for an even larger bill (which, according to McConnell, has zero support from Senate Republicans), it’s been a roller-coaster kind of week. Do we expect anything less in 2020?
Update 10/13: Senate Majority Leader McConnell indicated that they would vote sometime this month once the full chamber returns on 10/23 on a limited stimulus package that would include new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as unemployment benefits. Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered up a $1.8T package to House Speaker Pelosi, which was dismissed because "the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand," according to the Speaker. President Trump has been tweeting on the issue again, today posting "Go big or go home!!!"
Frustrating for sure, but it’s so important not to lose hope or take your foot off the gas regarding Congressional outreach. The major national associations—among them the National Limousine Association (NLA), Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), American Bus Association (ABA), United Motorcoach Association (UMA), and The Transportation Alliance, to name a few—have all been working hard behind the scenes to advocate for our industries, whether it’s chauffeured ground transportation, travel and tourism, or corporate travel. We’re all connected, and our place in the overall global travel network requires that we all have the support of our government. Your voice can make a difference by continuing to contact your representatives. Remember: The presidential race dominates headlines, but every House seat is up for reelection, as are 33 Senate seats. Are you satisfied with the job they are doing during one of the worst crises of our lifetime? Only you can answer that with your vote.
Among the larger bills are the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS Act), a version of which is currently floating around in the House (H.R.7642) AND Senate (S.4150) with broad bipartisan support for both by senior leadership. All in all, it has more than 300 cosponsors—nearly 60 percent of Congress.
However, CERTS was designed to be attached to a larger bill, not to pass as a standalone, and it desperately seeks that bigger legislation.
Broadly across the industry, another round of PPP, among other loans and grants, is sorely needed until the pandemic is under control for small businesses. That too has strong support, but is being buried by other sticking points.
Even if you’ve already reached out to your representatives, do so again. Call, email, or request a meeting. It’s critical they see that there are hundreds of thousands of jobs on the line, and without a strong and healthy travel sector, the economy cannot fully recover.
Don’t give up hope. Fight on. Your voice is powerful.