AEM continues to provide member companies with analysis, resources, and updates to support them as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. AEM is also working closely with government leaders in the United States and Canada, offering policy recommendations designed to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the equipment manufacturing industry.
With the recent passage of the massive “phase three” coronavirus relief package (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act), AEM members were given a new source of relief and provisions meant to help companies better support their operations and their employees. AEM’s advocacy staff has analyzed the 880-page document and has provided the following information for our members. This includes additional the most recent governmental direction on how to apply for various provisions since the legislation was signed into law.
ANALYSIS OF CARES ACT
The $2 trillion emergency relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 27. The CARES Act is now the largest U.S. economic rescue package in history. Our analysis provides an overview of provisions in the bill relevant to equipment manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, as well as partners in the agriculture, construction, and utility sectors. Provisions that will be implemented and executed by the various federal agencies as part of the CARES Act include:
- The Payment Protection Program
- Economic Stabilization Loans
- Deferral of Employer Payroll Taxes
- Relaxed Net Operating Loss Rules
- Modified Limitation on Business Interest
- Modified Refundable Minimum Tax Credit
- Employee Retention Payroll Credit
Learn more by reading AEM’s analysis.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM GUIDE
The Paycheck Protection Program, which was created as part of the CARES Act, provides federally-guaranteed loans up to a maximum amount of $10 million to eligible businesses. The loans can be partially forgivable as a way to encourage businesses to retain employees through the COVID-19 crisis by assisting in the payment of certain costs. Further details about how to apply, who is eligible, what lenders are looking for continue to be released. AEM has provided the following Small Business Guide to equip members with direction on how to apply for program.
LOOKING AHEAD TO “PHASE FOUR” COVID-19 LEGISLATION
Congress is out of session until April 20 at the earliest, but lawmakers are already planning for a “phase four” coronavirus relief package. AEM continues to urge Congressional leadership and the Trump administration to include infrastructure investment in the next stimulus bill. Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) joined Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) of the Committee on Energy and Commerce on a press conference call to discuss infrastructure priorities in their respective committees for the “phase four” coronavirus legislative response package. These priorities build on the “Moving Forward on Infrastructure Framework” that Democrats unveiled in January. President Trump also expressed support for including infrastructure in the next coronavirus relief bill. However, Speaker Pelosi appeared to suggest that the next relief package will need to extend the provisions of the CARES Act, provide more funds for small businesses, and additional aid to individuals, and that infrastructure may need to wait until “phase five.” Meanwhile, and further complicating the prospects for infrastructure investment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that he will not quickly pass a “phase four” coronavirus bill. AEM will continue to press lawmakers on the need for infrastructure investment as part of the next phase of the federal response, and will submit specific policy recommendations in the weeks ahead.
OTHER NOTABLE AEM COVID-19 ACTIVITIES
- AEM Driving the NewsAEM actions are driving news coverage and focusing the nation’s attention on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting equipment manufacturers and their employees. Bloomberg featured AEM’s president Dennis Slater and AEM Board Member and Husco International’s President and CEO Austin Ramirez in its recent story, “Blue-Collar America Braces for Another Devastating Recession,” which was published in Bloomberg Businessweek last week. And in case you missed it, last week Bloomberg reported on how the coronavirus-fueled chaos in financial markets is impacting McElroy Manufacturing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. AEM will continue to leverage the national media to highlight how the industry is weathering the storm and to highlight our policy priorities.
- AEM Urges Congressional Leadership to Include Infrastructure and workforce investment in “Phase Four” COVID-19 LegislationOn April 1, AEM sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging them to include major new infrastructure investment in the next government relief package. Congressional leadership and the White House recently signaled strong support for leveraging infrastructure investment in an effort to help the country recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. AEM will continue to work closely with state and federal elected officials as they craft the next government relief package to ensure that our industry’s priorities are included. AEM also joined other national organizations on April 2 on a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging them to include both infrastructure and workforce investments in future stimulus packages.
- AEM Urges Governor Inslee to Deem Constructive Projects as “Essential”AEM joined Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) in a letter urging Washington Governor Jay Inslee to reconsider broad restrictions placed by the state on construction activity. In the letter, the two associations emphasized that shutting down construction projects in Washington jeopardizes continued relief and prevention efforts surrounding COVID-19. For all of the latest activities in states, click here to read AEM’s overview.
- CISA Updates Critical Essential Infrastructure Guidance with Added ClarificationThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recently issued updated guidance on its list of “Critical Essential Infrastructure.” The new, expanded list, provides additional clarification, provided by over 200 companies, including AEM, and adopts robust list of essential industries. The updated guidance expands the types of industries deemed critical to manufacturing, to include the manufacturing of mining “equipment and other infrastructure necessary for mining production and distribution.” As not all states have adopted CISA’s guidance, AEM has worked with ARBTA, an industry partner, who has published a report on the status of transportation construction projects by state.
- OSHA Issues Guidance on Respiratory Protection Amid N95 ShortageThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new Enforcement Guidance for Respiratory Protection and the N95 Shortage Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) Pandemic. This memorandum provides interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the Respiratory Protection standard, 29 CFR § 1910.134, and certain other health standards, with regard to supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirators. Specifically, it outlines enforcement discretion to permit the extended use and reuse of respirators, as well as the use of respirators that are beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life (sometimes referred to as “expired”). This guidance applies in all industries and will also be highlighted on the OSHA COVID-19 webpage shortly.
- AEM Continues to Support Canadian Members in Response to COVID-19On April 3, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will provide $100 million in funding to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity. The Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, announced that Canada has notified the United States and Mexico that Canada has completed the domestic ratification process of the new NAFTA. The Canadian government will continue to work with the United States and Mexican governments to determine an ‘entry into force’ date. For AEM’s members in Canada, AEM’s Advocacy staff has created a comprehensive overview of all related COVID-19 actions taken by Canada’s governmental officials and other relevant stakeholders in Canada. This information is updated daily, so please check back for the most recent updates and resources. AEM has also assembled a comprehensive overview on workplace guidance measures put into place in Canada and across the various provinces as well as a guide to the measures taken by the Canadian government to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have questions or need additional support from AEM to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, please contact AEM’s COVID-19 Response Team by email at: [email protected].