AEM continues to advocate on behalf of equipment manufacturers to support the industry as the COVID-19 pandemic severely impact manufacturers and the overall American economy.
On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence called in to AEM’s Board of Directors Meeting to deliver an update on the work done by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and to thank equipment manufacturers for their response to the pandemic. The Vice President acknowledged equipment manufacturers that have offered to re-tool their operations to support the critical manufacturing efforts, and thanked the industry for its leadership and for embracing CDC guidelines to keep their employees and communities healthy and safe.
The Vice President also urged AEM’s member companies to offer the supplies and equipment they might have in storage or be able to produce or deliver to aid in the COVID-19 response effort. A list of helpful links can be found on the FEMA website. Finally, the Vice President asked that each of AEM's member companies share President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America. It is critically important that we spread this message far and wide.
White House, Congress Reach Deal on COVID-19 Phase Three Stimulus
Congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement early this morning on a nearly $2 trillion emergency relief package on Wednesday, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. AEM staff has provided an initial overview of key appropriations provisions that impact equipment manufacturers. An in-depth analysis of the CARES ACT will be provided later today.
Department of Agriculture
- $14 billion in borrowing authority for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). AEM joined a letter earlier this week to Congressional leadership urging an expansion and replenishment of USDA's borrowing authority under the CCC. This will enable another round of Market Facilitation Payments to help with the cash flow of farmers and ranchers as they deal with challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they have access to the equipment and related inputs they need.
- $20.5 million to allow for the Rural Business Cooperative Service to make $1 billion in lending authority available for loan guarantee program
- $100 million in grants for the ReConnect Program to provide rural broadband (includes cost of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service in eligible rural areas)
- $25 million for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband programs
- $9.5 billion to assist specialty crop producers; producers who support local foods systems such as farmers markets, schools, and restaurants; and livestock producers, including dairy
- $25.06 billion for food and nutrition programs like CNP, SNAP, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program
Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
- $1.5 billion for economic development grants to states
- $50 million for Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies
- $50 million to the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that operation of Corps projects across the country continue such as U.S. locks and dams, canals, and a wide range of public works programs vital to the transportation of goods such as agricultural commodities.
Financial Services and General Government
- $562 million for the Disaster Loans Program - this is in addition to $350 billion authorized for 100 % guaranteed, partially forgivable SBA loans, $10 billion in direct grants for businesses that do not qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and $17 billion for six months of principle and loan payments for all SBA backed business loans contained elsewhere in the legislation.
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
- $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans.
- $1 billion for Community Services Block Grant to help communities address the consequences of increasing unemployment and economic disruption.
Departments of Transportation and Housing
- $10 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to maintain operations at U.S. airports and shore up other available funding for capital projects and programs, including facility construction projects, that are already underway. AEM joined a letter last week to Congressional leadership urging this additional authorization for airports to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 has had on the aviation industry.
- $56 million for Essential Air Service (EAS)
- $25 billion for Transit Infrastructure Grants
- $1.018 billion for Amtrak
- $6 million for DOT administrative expenses $5 million for DOT Inspector General
Other Notable AEM Activities
- On Tuesday, AEM sent a letter to the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) requesting that equipment manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and service providers be consistently designated as “essential” and permitted to maintain operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- AEM has been monitoring activities taken by Governors as they continue to issue closure orders and other guidance, and we are in close contact with their staff to make the case that our industry should be deemed “essential.” For state-by-state information, please visit www.aem.org/covid-19-information-and-resources.
- AEM joined over 160 other groups in urging U.S. Senators to call on Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin to suspend tariffs for 90 days. However, on Wednesday, the White House indicated it does not plan to follow those recommendations. AEM will continue to advocate for the suspension or full removal of the tariffs.
- On Monday, AEM joined more than 40 other agriculture and commodity groups in a letter to Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Minority Leader McCarthy (Calif.) calling on Congress to replenish the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to “help farmers and ranchers survive during this emergency.”
- AEM mobilized its I Make America grassroots supporters on Wednesday to urge governors to designate equipment manufactures as “essential” during the COVID-19 crisis. The update went to the 15 largest equipment manufacturing states by employment (Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, New York, Louisiana, and Kentucky).
- AEM also continues to advocate on behalf of its members in Canada. This week, AEM sent letters to the Prime Minister and the Premiers, urging them to consider the essential role that equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors play in the economic well-being of communities across the country.
- U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes COVID-19 Guidance For Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave The DOL provided a fact sheet to help to employees and employers learn how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. DOL also provided a Fact Sheet for Employers and a FAQ.
For AEM’s full resource on COVID-19 activities and information, visit www.aem.org/covid-19-information-and-resources.