Earlier this year, ACMA’s Government Affairs staff and consultants met to align our strategy for the year like most business teams. We knew it would be both busy and exciting, with presidential and congressional elections in November, as well as legislation expected to move that would impact key composites industry markets. Little did we know just how much excitement was ahead for all of us.
When it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to significantly impact businesses and lives in the U.S., our Government Affairs effort quickly refocused to ensure that we were doing everything possible to assist our members to navigate these trying times.
We launched a resource page on our website to help direct companies to critical governmental information (acma.today/covid19). This page includes key guidance documents from federal and international agencies on industrial and personal health and safety. It also provides important details around tax relief including the Employee Retention Credit, designed to offset costs of maintaining employment during economic hardship. In addition, the resource page provides details on new federal loan programs like the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Loan Program for medium-sized businesses, among other resources.
Simultaneously, we launched a webinar series to help inform members about accessing financial assistance programs, as well as provide peer perspectives on safe plant operations in the throes of a pandemic. We repositioned our Policy Spotlight e-newsletter to feature the latest resources, ensuring members get the information they need as soon as possible. If you have not been plugged into these resources, we encourage you to take a look.
As the coronavirus pandemic progressed, it quickly became apparent that our industry is as resilient as the products we manufacture. Companies with the ability to transition their businesses to manufacture products to assist the national effort to battle COVID-19 are doing so around the country. Across the board, the focus on ensuring the safety and security of employees, both physical and financial, has been an encouraging testament to the people in the composites community.
For policy nerds like me, the last couple of months have been unlike any other time in recent history – and maybe ever. It is important to remember that the U.S. Congress is an institution purposefully designed to be slow and deliberative. I understand, of course, that on the front lines it may have seemed like an eternity, but the fact that Congress could gain bipartisan agreement on the CARES Act, the largest and most sweeping piece of legislation in American history, is pretty remarkable. We have also seen the strength of governorships around the country, as state governments navigate the challenge of keeping their citizens safe while maintaining a functional society.