As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, our Advocacy team wanted to provide you with another update on what we're seeing on Capitol Hill and in states across the country. We are presenting you with the latest information we have, but it is important to keep in mind that the situation is extremely fluid at this time and is changing by the hour.
A couple updates are particularly top of mind as we look ahead to the week:
- As many of you know, the health of the boating industry relies on Congress' support of small businesses. That's why we're making a concerted grassroots effort over the next few weeks to ensure that lawmakers hear from those who are impacted most. We would appreciate you and your colleagues’ support in making this effort a success.
- Congress continues to negotiate a $1.6 trillion Phase Three stimulus package aimed at helping industries and businesses. Republicans and Democrats are working on a solution to disagreements on requirements for government aid to businesses, funding for state and local governments, and unemployment insurance.
- As more states announce stay at home and shelter-in-place orders, we're keeping an eye out for public land and waterways closures and will continue to provide updates as we hear more.
NMMA On The Ground
NMMA has continued frequent communication with key congressional offices and committee staff throughout the weekend as lawmakers worked to develop a third stimulus package, pushing for our proposals to be included in this next round of federal relief.
NMMA has also been working with outdoor recreation industry partners to bring the broader outdoor economy’s stimulus priorities to the table. With 90% of the outdoor economy consisting of small businesses, we have emphasized that many of these businesses are in danger of failing without immediate, robust federal support.
After swift bipartisan passage of the "Phase Two" stimulus package signed into law last week, lawmakers lost momentum over the weekend when the Senate was unable to secure the 60 votes needed to move forward on the $1.6 trillion legislation. After another failed vote early Monday afternoon, negotiations continue but remain fluid.
Democrats have expressed concern with the bill's aid to industries and businesses and claim that it does not do enough for workers and families. Outstanding issues that will need to be negotiated include unemployment insurance, layoff protections, access to broadband, and provisions for corporations receiving federal assistance, including banning stock buybacks and limiting executive compensation. NMMA is continuing work to ensure support for small businesses is a top priority within these stimulus measures.
On Monday morning, the Federal Reserve announced a full range of tools that would be exercised to support the U.S. economy by promoting maximum employment and price stability.
As more and more states declare some variation of stay at home orders, NMMA is maintaining a list of these executive orders and how they impact manufacturing operations and outdoor recreation activities.
The Federal Reserve announced a plan on Monday to roll out new programs to help markets function more efficiently amid the COVID-19 crisis:
- Open-ended commitment to keep buying assets under its quantitative easing measures
- Multiple other programs, including one for main street businesses lending and others aimed at keeping credit flowing
- The Fed will be moving for the first time into corporate bonds, purchasing the investment-grade securities in primary and secondary markets and through exchange-traded funds.
- Additionally, the Federal Reserve expects to announce soon the establishment of a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses, complementing efforts by the SBA.
Talks are ongoing on the $1.6 trillion Senate Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) after two failed attempts to clear a key procedural hurdle. This situation is complicated by the fact that the Senate Republicans have only 48 votes -- five of their members are currently in quarantine.
While much remains in flux as lawmakers negotiate the bill, existing provisions that will likely remain in the bill include:
- $350 billion for small- and medium-sized businesses to maintain payroll and other operations;
- Provisions to streamline the small business loan applications;
- Payroll tax delayment, modifications to net operating losses, other tax reform measures to free up cash flow for businesses
- On Monday, House Democrats forged ahead with their own 1,200 page stimulus proposal hoping it will be compatible with what the Senate ultimately passes. Democratic priorities include: greater oversight for corporate bailouts, more money for hospitals, additional cash for state and local governments, and extended guaranteed unemployment benefits.
- As part of the economic stimulus bill aimed at mobilizing federal agencies to combat the pandemic, Senate Republicans proposed a $242 billion appropriations package. Negotiations are going on the package, which would allocate more than 75% of funds to state and local governments. $75 billion of this funding would go towards reimbursing health care providers.
As cases in the U.S. climb to at least 32,000, over a dozen states have issued variations of stay at home orders. Of the latest:
- IL- Shelter in place executive order will impact NMMA’s Chicago office and all NMMA IL members. Effective Saturday, March 21- April 7, 2020 all Illinois residents must stay at home or at place of residence. Non-essential business and operations in the state must cease all activities. For clarity, businesses may continue operations exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences. First EO with social distancing requirements- required 6 foot distances from others, washing hands, covering coughs/sneezes, and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces. Outdoor activity included as essential activities residents may leave residences for.
- MD- Gov. Hogan announced Monday that effective 5pm March 23rd all non-essential businesses in the state are ordered to close. Hogan announced $175 million in a business relief program through the state departments of commerce and labor. Small businesses will have access to $7 million to retain employees and another $75 million will go to small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees to pay their employees, suppliers and their rent. Additionally, the governor said $50 million will go toward grants of up to $10,000 each for businesses that have lost revenue and $5 million will go to provide incentives for businesses to manufacture face masks and other medical supplies.
- VA- Gov. Ralph Northam issued an order to close certain types of businesses, like bowling alleys, gyms and theaters for at least 30 days. This order would not apply to businesses deemed essential, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations
- NY- Gov. Cuomo ordered all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home effective Sunday, March 22nd. Individuals asked to limit outdoor recreation to no-contact activities.
Other states that have announced stay-at-home orders include:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
Outdoor Recreation Impacts
With the COVID-19 pandemic ushering in a variety of school, business, and organizational closures over the last few days, NMMA has compiled the latest operating status of our nation's federal, state, and local lands and waterways. We’ll continue to update this list as the situation unfolds in the coming weeks. The current status of these closures is available at the following link: https://www.nmma.org/press/article/23158
Resources of the Day
To learn more about specific state and local policies, including travel restrictions, MultiState Associates have issued a comprehensive COVID-19 State and Local Policy Dashboard for updates and information broken down by state.
In addition, NMMA has launched a COVID-19 webpage to serve as a one stop shop for a variety of helpful resources for manufacturers, business owners, and the general public: https://www.nmma.org/coronavirus.
If you have questions, please email NMMA’s COVID-19 task force at email@example.com.