Cornyn, Carper Lead Letter Urging Support for Independent Music Venues During Pandemic


In: All News   Posted 05/21/2020
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WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Carper (D-DE) led 40 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter today to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) asking them to include funding for independent live music venues in any upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. 

They wrote: “Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be many months away, if not longer.”

“Without assistance targeted to their unique situation, venues, artists, and our local communities face an unprecedented crisis. We support providing government funding, tax relief measures, and assistance to manage mortgage, rent, and other debt burdens for mom and pop venues across the country.”

“We can provide a vital lifeline for these iconic venues that are so central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help.”

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steven Daines (R-MT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Doug Jones (D-AL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Angus King (I-ME), and Tom Udall (D-NM) joined Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Carper (D-DE) on the letter. You can view the signed letter here, and text is below.

May 21, 2020

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                                       The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader                                                                      Minority Leader
United States Senate                                                               United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510                                                          Washington, DC 20510


Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

We write to bring your attention to challenges facing the live entertainment industry and to ask for targeted legislative action as Congress works on additional economic relief legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be many months away, if not longer. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue. The continued closures will also impact the numerous contractors, suppliers, and business partners that support the live entertainment industry in our states. 

Each year, thousands of independent venues host millions of events, staffed by hundreds of thousands of employees, and attended by hundreds of millions of concertgoers across all walks of life. These entertainment hubs are important economic multipliers for our local economies, generating millions in tax revenue and providing jobs in our communities. The business generated by this industry also supports countless neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail.

Unfortunately, even once venues are permitted to reopen, it will take months for the industry to return to usual schedules. Tour artists have an intricate and complicated process of planning, scheduling, and tour routing, making a quick restart near impossible. While necessary to prevent the spread of COVID 19, new capacity limitations and other restrictions could inhibit the live entertainment industry’s ability to recover fully for some time. We are concerned that even if these entertainment venues are able to withstand the shutdowns, they will not be economically viable operating at 25 or 50 percent occupancy.

Congress has taken swift action to support the economy, but the programs we have enacted provide little relief to independent venues. Short-term disruption assistance has provided a lifeline for millions of Americans, but businesses that face prolonged closure also need help. Without assistance targeted to their unique situation, venues, artists, and our local communities face an unprecedented crisis. We support providing government funding, tax relief measures, and assistance to manage mortgage, rent, and other debt burdens for mom and pop venues across the country.

These venues support the economies of communities across the country, are a crucial component of the music industry’s ecosystem, and serve as incubators and launch pads for the most popular talent in the world. We can provide a vital lifeline for these iconic venues that are so central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working with you to provide necessary relief to live venue operators across the country.

                                                                        Sincerely,
/s/