Bipartisan HOPE Act introduced:
This week, U.S. Congressmen Van Taylor (R-TX-03), Al Lawson (D-FL-05), and Andy Barr (R-KY-06), introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to provide economic support to the commercial real estate (CRE) market, especially for businesses with Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) debt, and the millions of Americans they employ. H.R. 7809, the Helping Open Properties Endeavor (HOPE) Act works to protect millions of jobs by preventing Commercial Real Estate (CRE) foreclosures, specifically to borrowers of commercial mortgages by providing financial assistance through the HOPE Preferred Equity lending facility. Guaranteed by the Department of the Treasury, financial institutions will originate preferred equity instruments to borrowers. AzLTA and AHLA strongly support the HOPE Act and we encourage you to reach out to Members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the HOPE Act (H.R. 7809).
HEALS Act Provisions: This week, Senate Republicans introduced a proposal for the next round of coronavirus relief – the “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act”. As a reminder, the House introduced the HEROES Act proposal in May, which passed along party lines. Discussions are expected to now begin in earnest as Congress faces the July 31 deadline for enhanced pandemic unemployment insurance benefits. Part of the Republican proposal would reduce these benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week on top of state administered aid until the end of September at which time the maximum benefit will be 70% of the recipient current wages — but this will be a starting point for the negotiations.
We are pleased to see many of the industry’s priorities included in the HEALS Act, including:
- Targeted Tax Provisions: The expansion of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), and a per employee credit for enhanced cleaning and acquisition of PPE in the Finance proposal.
- Business Meal & Entertainment Deduction: Supporting Americans Restaurant Workers Act: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a separate bill which would fully reinstate the business meal and entertainment deduction.
- PPP Recapitalization: Eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less and that show significant year over year revenue decline (currently 50%) will be eligible for a second PPP Loan. The NAICS Code 72 exemption language for Hospitality and Food Service, originally included in the CARES Act, is included in the Small Business proposal. Additionally, there is increased funding for the SBA 7(a) program, which is targeted towards “recovery sector businesses.”
- Liability Protections: The “SAFE TO WORK Act” introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) provides liability protections for employers, schools and health care providers. This Act also provides limited liability protection for businesses until October 1, 2024.
- DMOS eligible for PPP: Expands eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to all destination marketing organizations (DMO), including any 501(c) nonprofit, quasi-governmental organization or political subdivision of state or local government with 300 employees or less.
AzLTA will continue to work with AHLA and U.S. Travel to advocate for these bills and additional industry priorities.