Congress Reaches ‘Stimulus 3.5’ Deal and Updated Federal Guidance Deems Printers 'Essential'
The latest from Washington, D.C., on the legislative and regulatory responses to mitigate the economic consequences of COVID-19. Find out what bills have passed, descriptions of key provisions impacting print and packaging, and gain access to compliance resources and Federal agency guidance. Track the industry’s federal advocacy efforts on your behalf and receive timely grassroots action alerts to ensure your company’s voice is heard on Capitol Hill.
Updated April 21, 2020 @ 3:25 PM
Five days after the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money and after a high-profile partisan standoff, Congressional leaders have reached a deal. Known as “Stimulus 3.5,” this legislation is an interim pandemic relief bill that extends the SBA loan program originated in the CARES Act (or “Stimulus 3”).
Here is the broad stroke outline of the deal:
- In addition to increasing the Paycheck Protection Program from $349 billion to $659 billion, the deal also increases funding for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Grants from $10 billion to $20 billion.
- It also sets aside the specified funding for Insured Depository Institutions, credit unions, and community financial institutions.
- A $100 billion set aside for hospitals (a key demand by Democrats eventually agreed to by Republicans) was is also included in this bipartisan deal.
- The Senate is set to pass the legislative deal late this afternoon (4/22) by unanimous consent; the House of Representatives is requiring Members to return to Washington, D.C., on Thursday, 4/24, to vote on the legislation in person.
- Technical corrections to the Paycheck Protection Program and additional funding requests are expected to be addressed in a follow-on piece of legislation referred to on Capitol Hill as “Stimulus 4.”
Updated April 17, 2020 @ 4:00 PM
Printers and packagers have been specifically included as essential workers in the updated Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) released on April 17, 2020.
Printing Industries of America (PIA) petitioned the agency to recognize printing and packaging's essential nature along with the myriad of printed materials necessary to support the nation’s other critical infrastructure sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier versions of the CISA guidance implied printing and packaging companies were essential as part of critical manufacturing supply chains, but absent an explicit definition, PIA member companies have faced confusion or work stoppages as individual states and municipalities issued a patchwork of stay-at-home orders. In several cases, print was excluded by certain states and the industry was forced to petition governors to amend the original order. This process has created havoc for the industry, its employees, and customers.
While CISA’s guidance is not law nor a binding government regulation, it serves as an important benchmark by providing a standard definition of essential workers and encourages adoption by governors, county officials, and mayors. Over 40 states and numerous localities have enacted stay-at-home orders, many of which direct closures of non-essential businesses. CISA estimates that approximately 75% of states have adopted its guidelines to create a more harmonious approach to determining which types of businesses remain open.
From the onset of this pandemic, SGIA and PIA companies have sought to strike a delicate balance between remaining operational to support other critical infrastructure sectors while protecting public health and ensuring workplace safety. The CISA guidance will help ensure that the 700,000 print and packaging workers in supply chains supporting critical manufacturing sectors can remain an essential part of the American workforce.
For more information and updates on COVID-19 legislation and regulations, visit the COVID-19 Resource Channel.
Lisbeth Lyons is Vice President, Government & Political Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, the largest, most comprehensive graphic arts trade association in the country. With more than 20 years of experience representing the voice of business on Capitol Hill, Lisbeth advocates for public policies that protect and advance the economic future of the printing and packaging industry. She oversees PRINTING United Alliance’s legislative, political, and grassroots advocacy initiatives, and has served in executive leadership of multiple successful advocacy campaigns, such as Coalition for Paper Options, Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, and Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers Coalition.
Prior to representing PRINTING United Alliance, Lisbeth served in similar roles at Printing Industries of America, US Telecom, and the National Federation of Independent Business. She also spent three years as a K-12 teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, where she was on the forefront of urban education reform in the mid-1990s.
Lisbeth is Midwestern born and bred, having grown up in the St. Louis metropolitan area and attended college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, before starting her career in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in English/Sociology and a professional graduate certificate from The George Washington University School of Political Management. She lives in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
An avid leader and learner in professional development, Lisbeth was a founding member of the Government Relations Leadership Forum, and is an active participant in organizations such as Council of Manufacturing Associations, Women in Government Relations, and National Association of Business PACs, among others. Lisbeth is often a featured speaker at premier industry conferences; she has spoken to Boards of Directors, corporate executive management teams, and state and regional trade associations across the country from coast to coast.