Congressman Panetta, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Revive Hospitality and Tourism Industries Amid Pandemic

November 24, 2020
Press Release

SALINAS, CA - Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley), Steven Horsford (NV-04), and Darin LaHood (IL-18) have introduced the bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act to revitalize the tourism and hospitality industries, which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The legislation will provide comprehensive relief for the convention, entertainment, hospitality, and travel industries and their workers by creating new recovery incentives and enhancing the employee retention tax credit until regular travel and tourism safely resumes.  Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Keven Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Senate companion legislation to the House bill.

“With the pandemic surging and the restrictions by states and local governments continuing, it is the federal government's responsibility to provide some form of economic relief, especially to our local hospitality industry.  The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act would afford those types of businesses the necessary tax credits to help them preserve jobs and recover” said Congressman Panetta.  “This type of legislation is vital to protect the 22,000 travel and tourism employees who call the Central Coast home.”

“The hospitality, travel and tourism industries employ nearly 30 percent of Southern Nevada’s workers and are the lifeblood of our state’s economy. These sectors face unprecedented hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have made every effort to keep their employees and customers safe as they fight to stay in business,” said Congressman Horsford. “I’m proud to introduce the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act to give them and their workers a fighting chance as we navigate these challenging times.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic and state-mandated closures continue to wreak havoc on communities and industries across Illinois’ 18th district, especially our hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors,” said Rep. LaHood. “Congress cannot sit on the sidelines any longer while businesses continue to struggle. This bipartisan bill will give these disproportionately affected businesses the support they need to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Travel is by far the industry hardest hit by the ongoing fallout of the pandemic—accounting for 42 percent of all jobs lost in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at the U.S. Travel Association. “Without recovery measures like this bill, the industry is expected to take at least 5 years to recover to pre-pandemic levels of employment and economic activity. By targeting tax incentives on the areas that need the most help—including in the meetings and events and entertainment sectors—the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act will provide a significant boost to rebuilding travel jobs, helping to ensure the millions of Americans that rely on travel for income can get the financial stability they need. We thank Representatives Horsford, LaHood, and Panetta for taking a bold stand on behalf of America’s travel workforce.”

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a tremendous challenge to both public health and the economy, and no industry in the U.S. has been more severely impacted than the travel and hospitality sector.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in travel and tourism has fallen by 23.9% across the nation this year.  The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act addresses the significant challenges facing the tourism and hospitality industries as the U.S. continues work toward recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Support the convention and trade show industries by establishing a tax credit for the cost of attending or hosting a convention, business meeting, or trade show in the United States between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023.
  • Make improvements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
  • Restore the Entertainment Business Expense Deduction by repealing the changes made by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Support the restaurant industry by establishing a tax credit for restaurants or food service businesses, covering any cost associated with reopening or increasing service at an establishment forced to close down or reduce operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic—including any renovation, remediation, testing, or labor cost needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Credit would be effective between the date of enactment and December 31, 2022.
  • Provide a modest tax credit for qualified travel expenses for many Americans.