Senators Make Bipartisan Push for Local News Media Support

April 20, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan quartet of Senators is urging the chamber’s leadership to support aid to local newspaper, radio and television stations in the next iteration of the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Saturday, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., John Kennedy, R-La., and John Boozman, R-Ark., wrote, “ensuring that local news outlets remain viable at this critical time is not only a matter of fairness, but is essential to public health.

“Local newspapers, radio, and television stations provide important local content that keeps their communities informed,” they continued. “People rely on local newspapers and broadcasters to cover school and business closures, to widely communicate public health guidance, and to combat life-threatening misinformation.”

After Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, several thousand newspapers and hundreds of local radio and television stations discovered they were ineligible for relief due to the Small Business Administration’s affiliation rule.

The affiliation rule restricts assistance to companies owned or controlled by larger entities, even if they operate independently.

The Senators noted the CARES Act waived the affiliation rule for hotels and restaurants allowing them to benefit from small business assistance, and said the same consideration should extend to local news outlets in light of their vital role in maintaining public health.

They also point out that these local media outlets have all lost a significant amount of advertising revenue because of COVID-19’s impact on the American economy.

According to the News Media Alliance, newspapers have lost up to 50 percent of advertising revenue for the second quarter of the year.

In addition a nationwide survey conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, found that traditional media, including local radio and television stations, will see a 43 percent decline in advertising revenue for March and April.

In a separate analysis, the National Association of Broadcasters has found that some local broadcasters have even reported that up to 90 percent of their advertising revenue has been lost.

“Waiving SBA’s affiliation rules for local newspapers and broadcasters and ensuring that financial assistance flows to the local affiliate, not the parent company, would allow these small, local operations to be eligible for much-needed financial relief,” the Senators wrote.

A similar push is being led in the House by House Antitrust Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

In a statement David Chavem, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance said, “During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, reliable local news and information is more important than ever.

“SBA loans have allowed some local news publishers to keep reporters employed and their newsrooms running as an essential function. But too many publishers have been left out because they are part of groups with other small publishers or non-news businesses,” he continued.

“We are requesting changes to the SBA loan program that would allow funds to flow to more local newsrooms, and help them to continue doing the work that sustains communities during a time of crisis. We applaud Senators Cantwell, Kennedy, Klobuchar and Boozman for their leadership in pushing for this measure and we call on Congress to expand the SBA program to cover local news outlets,” Chavem said.

Economy

Once COVID is Slain, Sustainable Budgets Must Be Priority
Federal Budget
Once COVID is Slain, Sustainable Budgets Must Be Priority
March 5, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - A Congressional Budget Office report estimating that persistent budget deficits will cause the federal debt to double in size over the next 30 years, "provides a troubling snapshot of America’s fiscal outlook, which we know will only get worse from here," according to the... Read More

Senate Nears Relief Bill Votes After Half-Day GOP Delay
U.S. Senate
Senate Nears Relief Bill Votes After Half-Day GOP Delay

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate steered on Friday toward a voting marathon on Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill after enduring an extraordinary half-day holdup forced by a Republican foe of President Joe Biden's top legislative priority. The chamber planned to begin voting around midday on... Read More

Face Masks Are Piling Up In Warehouses, Indy Makers Say
Health
Face Masks Are Piling Up In Warehouses, Indy Makers Say
March 4, 2021
by Dan McCue

AUSTIN, Texas – It was a dire situation that Lloyd Armbrust can almost laugh about now.  A global pandemic had swept across the United States, a baby was on the way, and Armbrust, hard as he tried, could not find a supply of a critical element... Read More

Dems Tighten Relief Benefits, Firm Up Support for Virus Bill
U.S. Senate
Dems Tighten Relief Benefits, Firm Up Support for Virus Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed to tighten eligibility limits for stimulus checks, bowing to party moderates as leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the Senate. At the same time, the White House and top Democrats stood by... Read More

Airlines Say They Will Fail Without More Federal Aid
Travel
Airlines Say They Will Fail Without More Federal Aid
March 3, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Airline industry officials made a plea Tuesday for additional federal assistance to help their deeply wounded businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. They asked a congressional committee for another round of Payroll Support Program funds, not only to keep their workers employed, but in... Read More

Biden Urges Senate Dems to Rally Behind $1.9T Virus Bill
Congress
Biden Urges Senate Dems to Rally Behind $1.9T Virus Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden urged Senate Democrats to rally behind a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and stood by his proposed $1,400 payments to individuals, even as some party moderates sought to dial back parts of the package."He said we need to pass this... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top