July 07, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that Senator King has cosponsored the Restarting the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act to support the small- and mid-sized businesses most affected by the coronavirus crisis. The proposal responds to the urgent needs of hard-hit restaurants, hotels, retailers, concert venues, gyms, and other businesses and nonprofits by creating a loan program to help keep them afloat through the remainder of 2020 and provide loan forgiveness as a backstop against continuing economic challenges. Congressman Jared Golden (D-Maine) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Businesses across Maine are feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and Congress needs to do more to support them,” said Senator King. “The PPP has helped businesses stay afloat in the early days of this crisis – but both the virus and its economic effects are going to be with us for an extended period of time. We must start preparing for the challenges ahead, especially for the seasonal businesses that are missing out on a major chunk of their yearly revenue due to a slower summer season. We can make it through this pandemic, together, by sticking to our values and looking out for one another, and this legislation is a step in that direction.”
Senator King has fought to support Maine’s tourism industry and related economic sectors both prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Senator King wrote an op-ed to advocate for more federal support for Maine’s small businesses. He also sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling for additional funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s programs in future coronavirus economic recovery legislation.
Last month, he introduced the Visit America Act, which would set a visitation goal of 116 million annual international travelers to the United States by 2028, formally authorize the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and create a high-ranking position within the Department of Commerce focused on bolstering America’s travel and tourism industry and coordinating a tourism strategy across multiple federal agencies. Senator King’s legislation to improve the Paycheck Protection Program was signed into law, providing Maine businesses with additional flexibility as they continue to navigate the challenges of the coronavirus. He is a lead sponsor of the Restore Our Parks Act which aims to address the maintenance backlog at national parks. The legislation would directly support 40,300 jobs and indirectly support 100,100 jobs over the next five years according to a recent study by the National Parks Service. Additionally, Senator King has cosponsored legislation to reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism across the country through marketing campaigns that promote international travel to the United States. That legislation was signed into law in December 2019.
In addition to King, the RESTART Act is supported by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).