FRA Issue Update - 4/22/20

COVID-19 Aid Package Passed by Senate

On Tuesday, April 22, the Senate approved a $480 billion COVID-19 aid package. Most of the approved package will replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The allocation of the appropriated Senate relief package includes:

  • $310 billion to the PPP with $60 billion of that amount reserved for small and midsize banks, credit unions, and community-developed finance institutions;
  • $50 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Grants;
  • $10 billion for small grants administered by SBA;
  • $10 billion for SBA administrative costs;
  • $75 billion to health care providers treating COVID-19 cases;
  • $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.

The House is expected to vote on the relief package on Thursday morning. If the House passes the measure, it would likely be signed by President Trump this week.

Please connect to FRA COVID-19 webpage for PPP application process information.

H-2B Workers Exempt from Immigration Pause

Yesterday, FRA, the H-2B Coalition, and many of our allies in the forest products industry mobilized in response to a tweet on Monday from President Trump that stated he would suspend immigration to the U.S. This tweet raised the level of concern for those businesses, including forestry, that rely on seasonal workers. A tremendous amount of outreach from the forest products sector to members of Congress and the White House let them know of our concerns with suspending H-2B visas in recruiting seasonal nonimmigrant labor. These efforts resulted in a positive outcome, as H-2B visas are exempt from the pending Executive Order suspending immigration into the U.S. expected to be signed today.

If you have any questions, please contact FRA’s Director, Government Affairs Tim O’Hara, (218) 390-7965, [email protected] or FRA President Deb Hawkinson, (202) 296-3937, [email protected].