WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Millions of Americans are now facing the prospect of being unemployed. One of the hardest hit industries in this pandemic has been the travel industry, which represents roughly 14 million jobs.
Roger Dow, president of the U.S Travel Association, says if Congress doesn’t get its act together, the majority of jobs will be gone.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. We think this is probably five to six times worse than September 11th,” Dow said.
Dow says the travel industry is taking a catastrophic hit as millions of Americans stay home.
“The bottom line is, there’s no guests to take care of,” Dow said. “It’s a loss of like $355 billion. We think already 4.6 million workers don’t have a job.”
Dow says each day the numbers only get worse, as once bustling airports, hotels and restaurants turn into ghost towns. It’s why he says Congress must act now and pass a massive stimulus package to help workers and businesses survive the pandemic.
“They’ve got to work fast,” he said.
The U.S. Travel Association is just one of 6,000 travel organizations calling on Congress to send nearly $300 billion to help them recover from the pandemic.
After several tense days of debate, Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer signaled a deal is in reach.
“We’ve had some very good discussions, and in fact, the list of outstanding issues has narrowed significantly,” Schumer said.
Democrats say the new plan includes more federal oversight to ensure large corporations, including airlines, don’t misuse taxpayer dollars.
Once passed in the Senate, the bill heads to the Democrat-controlled house.