Fighting for Members During Crisis


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During these trying and uncertain times ACCA team has been the voice of HVACR contractors at all levels of government –and we’ve seen great results from contractors’ grassroots efforts. There are several issues that we have been actively engaged in fighting for (and against).

HVAC as an Essential Emergency Service

ACCA was concerned that guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) did not expressly consider HVACR as an essential service. DHS’s original guidance stated that plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers were considered essential, but ACCA wanted clarification regarding the HVACR industry. ACCA believed that HVACR should be specifically mentioned in the federal government’s guidance because HVACR contractors are a critical component of hospitals, nursing homes, commercial buildings, information technology, our food supply, and the comfort of every American. Because DHS did not specifically consider HVACR as essential, on March 16, 2020 ACCA sent letters to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and every member of Congress outlining the importance of HVACR to nearly every aspect of society. ACCA also issued a nationwide action alert and ACCA members responded by sending nearly 21,000 e-mails and letters to elected officials throughout the country, amplifying the collective voice of the HVACR industry. After ACCA’s actions, DHS issued updated guidance stating the HVACR were essential to nearly every aspect of our economy. The extent to which CISA highlighted HVACR services in their guidance truly underscores how important the industry is to our country’s security, health, and way of life. State and local governments have been advised to follow the guidance issued by DHS, with many state and local authorities already doing so.

If not for ACCA’s early actions and leadership, and the 21,000 constituent letters and e-mails, HVACR quite possibly could have been left off of DHS guidance for essential workers.

Relief for Small Businesses

ACCA has worked on two of the federal stimulus packages, including the recently passed CARES Act which includes $377 billion in much needed aid for small businesses. On Friday April 3, 2020 the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) went live, allowing businesses with fewer than 500 employees to apply for Small Business Administration 7(a) loans for up to $10 million or the average of the past two months’ payroll plus an additional 25 percent—whichever is less. The loans are primarily intended to cover payroll costs but can also be used for other obligations such as fixed debt, rent, mortgage, and utility payments. Further, significant portions of the loans are eligible for forgiveness if the businesses retain or rehire their workers. They can be obtained through most financial lenders.

While the relief funds available to small businesses are a step in the right direction on the road to economic recovery, there is serious concern over the Small Business Administration’s capacity to process the massive influx of applications they will be receiving. According to Congressional Research Service, in FY2019 the Small Business Administration approved 51,907 loans for a total of $23.2 billion dollars. This is just a fraction of the $377 billion they will be tasked with processing over mere weeks opposed to a whole year. Moreover, time is of the essence, and any delays will cause significant economic hardship and may force many businesses to close their doors for good. This is why ACCA sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leadership on April 3, 2020 (the day the program went live) stressing how important it is for the Small Business Administration to have the necessary resources to process and distribute relief funds as soon as possible.
In addition to working towards the timely delivery of relief funds, ACCA is also fighting to make sure that money makes it into the hands of the small businesses that desperately need these funds to survive—and not wealthy corporate interests that could otherwise weather the storm. As the PPP was set to roll out, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza asking them to make relief funds available to firms with private equity investors and venture capitalist. In response, ACCA wrote President Trump and Congress pointing out the fact that this program is not meant to be a corporate bailout or a cash grab for the rich. Instead, it is a lifeline intended to support small businesses that are the backbone of our economy. So far, the administration has not moved to expand the availability of the funds to wealthy corporate interests.
Moving Forward
No one knows for certain what the months and weeks ahead will hold, or how long this crisis will last. There will surely be long term effects and unforeseen consequences. One thing that is certain, however, is that ACCA will be here every step of the way fighting for the interests of HVACR contractors across the country. If you are interested in more content or resources related to the coronavirus pandemic, please visit ACCA.org.
Authors Note: Chris Czarnecki is ACCA’s Government Relations Representative and Coalitions Manager. He can be reached at chris.czarnecki@acca.org or 703-824-8869.
Chris Czarnecki
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Posted In: Government

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