Large-scale coronavirus aid seems unlikely to pass before the election, but the Save Our Stages act may yet get a vote as part of a smaller relief bill introduced by Senate Democrats this week. The Heroes Small Business Lifeline Act is a $370 billion bill that includes most of the small business provisions pushed for as part of the larger Heroes Act currently being hashed out between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the White House.
With Senate Republican leadership indicating limited interest in passing the large economic relief package even if a deal is reached, the small scale package may be the only hope for Save Our Stages Act prior to November 3. Introduced by Sens Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the bill is pitched as a set of relief measures that cannot wait for the impasse to be worked out.
“The HEROES Small Business Lifeline Act meets the scale of the need in our country—providing grants, affordable long-term capital, and small business debt relief to the most vulnerable and hardest-hit small businesses and sectors,” Cardin said. “COVID-19 cases are rising every day. Senate Republicans’ proposal to only reinstate eight weeks of PPP is not enough to get small businesses and their employees through the pandemic.”
Save Our Stages has been a part of Democrats’ hoped coronavirus relief ever since being introduced over the summer by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX). It includes $10 billion in funding designed to help arts organizations and venues survive the pandemic, and its related halt on nearly all live performances across the country. Schumer has been a vocal proponent of its passage, joining with Broadway leadership to promote the needed funding in September. Its passage was the focus of a recent benefit performance featuring a wide array of performers last weekend.