US VP Pence appeals to equipment manufacturers
By Jenny Lescohier27 March 2020
US Vice President Mike Pence phoned in to a meeting of the Associated Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Board of Directors on 25 March urging member companies to offer the supplies and equipment they might have in storage or be able to produce or deliver to aid in the COVID-19 response effort.
He also asked each company to share President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.
AEM sent a letter to the director of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) requesting that equipment manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and service providers be consistently designated as “essential” and permitted to maintain operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, many major equipment manufacturers have had to suspend production at some plants in response to supply chain challenges and uncertain economic conditions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“AEM has been monitoring activities taken by governors as they continue to issue closure orders and other guidance, and we are in close contact with their staff to make the case that our industry should be deemed ’essential’,” AEM said in a statement, noting state-by-state information can be found here.
Meanwhile, the US Congress reached a bipartisan agreement on a nearly $2 trillion emergency relief package on 26 March. Included in the omnibus bill are $350 billion authorized for 100% guaranteed, partially forgivable Small Business Association (SBA) loans, $10 billion in direct grants for businesses that do not qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and $17 billion for six months of principle and loan payments for all SBA backed business loans contained elsewhere in the legislation.
Also included are $1 billion for Community Services Block Grants to help communities address the consequences of increasing unemployment and economic disruption, as well as $1.5 billion for economic development grants to states.