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US Congress passes $15bn Save Our Stages aid

The Save Our Stages bill, which will provide $15bn in loans to US grassroots venues, has effectively passed its final hurdle towards becoming law

By IQ on 21 Dec 2020

US Capitol, Washington DC

image © ASampedro/Fotolia

The US Congress has passed the Save Our Stages bill, which will provide around US$15 billion in relief to independent music venues, as part of a wider $900bn Covid-19 stimulus package.

The passage of the bill yesterday (Sunday 20 December) followed a two-hour hearing earlier in the week, during which representatives of the grassroots venues sector made a “passionate and compelling case for federal aid before the US Senate”, according to Variety.

Passage of Save Our Stages by Congress is the final stage before it goes to president Donald Trump, whose signature will enshrine the bill in law. Trump supports the bill, according to White House spokesman Ben Williamson.

“I am especially pleased that this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants, and $15 billion in SBA [Small Business Administration] grants for theatre operators and small venue owners through the Save Our Stages act,” says New York senator Chuck Schumer, a co-sponsor of the bill.

“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country”

“These venues are so important to my state and many states across the country; they are the lifeblood of our communities. They were first to close, and will be the last to open. The bill gives them a fighting chance.”

“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the Covid-19 relief bill,” adds Dayna Frank, owner and CEO of Minneapolis’s First Avenue (1,550-cap.) and board president of the National Independent Venue Association.

“We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides pandemic unemployment assistance, which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”

In addition to its Save Our Stages component, the wider Covid-19 relief act includes $600 in direct payments to individuals, and $300-a-week boost to unemployment benefits, as well as provisions for food assistance, vaccine distribution, transit and healthcare, Reuters reports.

 


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