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 the Vice President, Government and External Affairs, having joined Printing Industries in March 2005 as Director of Legislative Affairs. In this position, she is responsible for providing direct advocacy before Congress and the Administration on key industry legislative initiatives, as well as for the strategic direction of the organization's grassroots and external outreach activities. She serves as Treasurer of PrintPAC, the only industry political action committee dedicated solely to electing pro-print lawmakers.
Previously, Lisbeth was Director, Government Affairs at the United States Telecom Association (USTA), representing telecommunications companies ranging from the nation's largest Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to small, rural telephone companies. Lisbeth also served as Director of Grassroots & Legislative Services at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation's largest small business advocacy organization.
Lisbeth is a candidate for an M.A. in Political Management at The George Washington University and holds a B.A. from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Prior to working in Washington, D.C., Lisbeth was a teacher with Chicago Public Schools.