NUCA News Summary – September 2020
NUCA Washington News
NUCA-Supported Great American Outdoors Act Signed Into Law
President Trump signed into law on Aug. 10 a NUCA-supported bill that has the potential to create thousands of new construction industry jobs. The "Great American Outdoors Act" (S. 3422/H.R. 1957) would help mitigate the billions in deferred maintenance in the Dept. of Interior and the National Park Service (NPS). Much of the $6.65 billion in funding would be used for infrastructure improvements in national parks and other federal recreation areas. Addressing the infrastructure needs in NPS alone would create an estimated 108,000 construction industry jobs, according to a recent Pew study. Read NUCA's letter of support here.
$1.2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Legislation Stalls in Senate
On July 28, Senate Republicans as part of their HEALS Act COVID-19 relief legislation included a section expanding eligibility under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to 501c6 organizations like NUCA and our Chapters. There are several other pro-business aspects of the HEALS Act, including $190 billion in new PPP funding, extending the PPP loan program until Dec. 31, 2020, and expanding uses for non-payroll funds up to 40% of a loan. NUCA strongly supports the HEALS Act and deeply thanks Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) for their sound legislation.
However, with both parties unable to reach a final deal after talks broke down August 7, the future of any COVID-19 relief legislation remains in question. President Trump issued several Executive Orders on Aug. 8 which would extend unemployment benefits of $400/week as well as defer payroll tax. However, the legality of these orders is unclear and may be challenged in court.
Relief legislation negotiations are focusing on pro-NUCA issues: Democrats are still prioritizing aid to state and local governments to shore up budget shortfalls (especially for State DOTs) and Republicans continue to push for robust liability protections for businesses. All things considered, this means that whatever form the final bill takes will likely be a win for our industry. Read more here.
House Passes Appropriations Bills, $10 Billion for Clean Water SRFs
The Democratic-led U.S. House passed on July 24 the first of several FY2020 federal appropriations bills. H.R. 7608 (Interior/Environment/Agriculture) passed 224-168, primarily on party lines. The "minibus" bill contains $10.2 billion for the Clean Water SRF and Drinking Water SRF programs, $1.4 billion for rural water and wastewater loans, $610 million for grants directed towards clean water systems, $1.05 billion in funds for broadband, and $6.9 billion in loans directed toward rural electric/telecom infrastructure.
NUCA Association News
(Virtual) Washington Summit: Sept. 23 - Registration Now Open!
While Congressional offices on Capitol Hill remain closed to the public and will be for the foreseeable future, they are open for virtual meetings with their constituents. Your lawmakers still need to hear from you. To ensure that this can be accomplished, NUCA will hold its 2020 Washington Summit virtually. Plan to attend the Summit virtually via your computer on Wednesday, September 23. Summit registration is free to NUCA members, with the tentative Summit schedule posted on the NUCA Summit webpage. We hope that you'll be able to attend this unique advocacy experience. Learn more here.
We are grateful to our National Partners for helping NUCA put on this year's Summit.
2020 Trench Safety Stand Down Numbers
The interim numbers are in on this year's Trench Safety Stand Down, held in June. 19,420 employees at 2,256 jobsites focused for a day on trench and excavation hazards and using the safety systems provided by their employers. We're collecting the final #TSSD20 numbers from our National Partners and will report on the total number of participants next month. Thank you to all who took part this year, despite current difficulties.
NUCA of Ohio Hosts Rep. Jim Jordan & NUCA CEO at Chapter Summer Golf Outing
Rep. Jim Jordan (l.) (R-OH-04) and NUCA CEO Doug Carlson joined NUCA of Ohio's Aug. 7th morning annual golf event in Mansfield, Ohio. Rep. Jordan enjoyed the company of NUCA's CEO and members who played a round to benefit the chapter's Education and Safety Fund. The Congressman spoke at the event's opening, discussing the infrastructure and COVID-19 relief legislation now in Congress.
Are Your Employees Aware of Heat Stroke Symptoms? OSHA Is
With severe heat striking several parts of the nation, OSHA has provided several online resources for construction companies to use in protecting their employees from heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Go to osha.gov/heat for more information. As a NUCA member, you can also use your Toolbox Talk on "Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke" for employee instruction. Download now in English | Spanish
Train the Trainer Still Postponed
While NUCA's Train-the-Trainer sessions were rescheduled in the spring to June 22, continuing safety concerns led to that session being rescheduled again. NUCA is seeking a location where the session could be held at a later date this year, which has yet to be determined. Stay informed about the latest updates, and learn more about the program and training session here.