Congress Reaches Agreement on Stimulus Plan, With Save Our Stages Included
It's not time to have the champagne, but one of the most divided and dysfunctional conventions in US history announced on Sunday that it had finally reached an agreement to pass the overdue $ 900 billion economic agreement is to send aid to American citizens and businesses facing the U.S. government pandemic - including the Save Our Stages bill, worth roughly $ 10 billion in independent music venues that have been almost completely closed since March should be relieved.
"We can finally report what our nation has had to hear for a long time," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, according to the New York Times, did more Sunday night to delay the bill than virtually anyone else. "More help is on the way."
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True to form, this congress started negotiations and hardly avoided a further closure of the government. The house is expected to close the deal on Sunday evening, with the Senate following shortly afterwards. The final votes are expected on Monday, when the bill goes to President Trump, who has barely done any presidential work since losing in the November election.
In a statement, Dayna Frank, owner and CEO of iconic First Avenue, Minneapolis and chairman of the National Independent Venue Association, said, “We are thrilled that Congress heard and provided us with a pivotal reputation for closed independent venues across the country Lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill. We are also incredibly grateful that this bill provides pandemic unemployment relief that will help millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We call for these laws to be passed quickly, which will help those most in need and ensure that music lives on for generations. "
In a two-hour hearing on Tuesday morning, representatives of the concert industry, which has been plagued by the shutdown of the pandemic, passionately and convincingly pleaded for federal aid in front of the US Senate. The Save Our Stages bill was supported in the Senate by Amy Klobuchar (D-Mn.) And John Cornyn (R-Tx.).
"We are here in front of you with our hats in hand," said witness Michael Strickland, owner of the Bandit Lites lighting company in Knoxville, TN.
"Please don't let the music die," said Adam Hartke, who owns two independent venues in Wichita, KS. "Please save our stages."
Several stats circulated by NIVA over the past few months have aired, including the fact that 90% of the country's independent venues close within weeks without government assistance. and that musicians on average get between 70% and 90% of their income from live performances that have practically no longer existed since mid-March. Witnesses and senators also pointed to the economic activity related to concert halls, noting that studies have shown that every dollar spent at a venue generates $ 12 in revenue for surrounding or affiliated businesses.
Several subjects emerged during the hearing, during which witnesses and senators took turns speaking. Most noticeably, the PPP aid that venues and other companies received in March was largely depleted by June and that payroll is just one of the rapidly growing "core" costs venues face are.
David Fay, President / CEO of the Bushnell Center in Hartford, CT, spoke of the economic hardship that inner cities will face when venues close. He said the past few months in Hartford have felt like "a pandemic jump in time, it's a 1960s ghost town" and spoke of the hard work that has been done to revitalize downtown centers. "It is an existential threat not only to our industry, but also to the companies around it."
More information about the hearing and more information about Save Our Stages can be found here.
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