Fighting for Members During Crisis
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.
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