• Amber Thomas

COVID-19 Government Response: 3 Weeks in March

It’s been a tough few weeks for everyone as citizens and businesses adjust to the dramatic changes in our daily lives. AMT is here for our members. AMT staff has been fielding calls from many of you. If you have a question, please call, email, or reach our staff through social media. Here’s a list of our executive staff’s contact information. 

We’re working with government agencies and manufacturing organizations to bring you the latest resources on COVID-19. Check back often at the AMT COVID-19 resource page for updates.

Below are significant actions taken in March. 

The federal government has responded with a three-phase emergency spending approach to help the nation get through this crisis. The last of which was enacted last week. The House of Representatives is now busy at work on Phase 4. 

Phase 1: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, which President Donald Trump signed on March 3, provided $8.3 billion for health agencies and small businesses, including $7 billion in low-interest Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to affected small businesses. The SBA issued the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources website to help companies take advantage of the new programs.

Phase 2: The Families First Corona Response Act (FFCRA) On March 26, The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division issued guidance explaining the new paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements under FFCRA, which take effect on April 1, 2020.

Phase 3: The CARES ACT Last week, Congress and the administration came together to enact the CARES Act, a historic $2 trillion emergency spending package to help businesses and citizens impacted by COVID-19. Here is a summary of the Cares Act. The U.S. Senate’s Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act can be found here. Other Actions:

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency updated its guidance on what constitutes the nation’s critical infrastructure in the war against the virus. AMT weighed in with CISA to confirm that our members fall under the definition of “critical manufacturing.” AMT also signed a letter, along with 100 other manufacturing organizations, to state governors, mayors, and other localities urging adoption of the CISA guidance.

The president also took a big step by invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to order General Motors to ramp up production of life-saving ventilators. Until then, he had resisted using the DPA for emergency medical supplies and equipment production.

The Department of Defense’s (DOD) Office of Industrial Policy continues to partner with the defense industrial base to mitigate impacts from COVID-19. Here’s a DOD webpage with resources for companies and stakeholders as they navigate the complexities associated with the virus: Resources in Response to the Novel Coronavirus.

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