ASAE Reiterates Pleas for Association COVID-19 Aid

ASAE delivered its sixth letter to House and Senate leaders this week requesting aid for 501(c)(6) associations as they work to cobble together what could be the last COVID-19 relief package before the November elections.

In a letter to Congress this week, ASAE reiterated its request that lawmakers expand eligibility requirements for the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include 501(c)(6) associations whose operations and revenue-generating activities have been gravely impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

The July 21 letter cites grim survey data conducted by the ASAE Research Foundation showing that many associations possess insufficient reserves to weather the pandemic without congressional action, while 72 percent of survey respondents projected they will use up to half of their reserves. Despite ASAE’s numerous requests over the past several months, associations have been locked out of the PPP and other relief programs created by Congress to assist industries and small businesses struggling to meet payroll and other basic expenses.

ASAE also recommended Congress take definitive action in the next COVID-19 package to:

  • expand employer assistance policies like the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
  • expand provisions to ensure a safe return to work for all employees
  • support families and workers as they seek to return to work
  • ensure a broad-based economic recovery by including tax credits for businesses and employees to participate in in-person meetings and events when safe to do so, and tax credits for qualified expenses connected to business travel.

ASAE’s letter also includes a document to correct misperceptions about the association community’s role in the economy and society that may have caused some lawmakers to withhold support for the 501(c)(6) community in previous pandemic relief legislative measures. The Essential Pillars and Purpose of American Associations speaks to the foundational, instrumental role associations play for the industries and professions they represent, but also to the American economy and workforce at large, ASAE said.

Bill Hits Obstacles

Senate Republicans were set to introduce a draft bill Thursday but had to scuttle those plans after failing to resolve policy disagreements with the White House.

The White House is reportedly at odds with Senate Republicans over plans for handling an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, which expire at the end of next week. Senate Republicans have also rejected the White House’s preference for a payroll tax cut as part of the package. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly floated the idea of breaking up COVID-19 relief provisions into separate, smaller pieces of legislation—an idea that neither Republicans nor Democrats support.

“We’d like to do everything, but if we can’t do everything the priority is we’d like to address [unemployment insurance], schools, and liability quickly,” Mnuchin said after meeting with McConnell.

Pelosi immediately shot down the suggestion of a piecemeal approach to COVID response. “No, no no,” she said Thursday. “This is a package. We cannot piecemeal this.”

(Feverpitched/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

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