Hardwood industry proposes COVID-19 relief policies to U.S. Senate
June 15, 2020 | 12:28 pm CDT
Photo By Northwest Hardwoods, member of the Hardwood Federation
WASHINGTON – The Hardwood Federation has proposed several policies to the U.S. Senate regarding hardwood workers and companies hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The U.S. hardwood industry is a fully integrated industry from logging to manufacturing finished consumer goods including flooring, cabinets and moldings,” the federation wrote in a letter to U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. “The tissue and paper supplies made of residual chips and dust from our mills and the industrial mats, shipping pallets and railway ties made from hardwood lumber are crucial to the significant economic recovery we face.
“Like so many American industry sectors, we have been hit hard by the devastation caused by the COVID-19 virus, with many companies reporting declines of 50% and more,” the letter continued. “Coming so closely on the heels of the significant harm done to our companies as a result of the U.S.-China trade dispute, many are seriously concerned about their future viability.”
The Federation went on to propose the following:
- Extending liability protections to businesses bringing workers back post-COVID-19;
- Directing the Small Business Administration to reverse its decision to limit Economic Injury Disaster Loans to $150,000. Existing law authorizes EIDL loans of up to $2 million which is essential to industry members;
- Extending a sustainable building tax credit to building and construction projects including U.S. wood products used in these projects;
- Increasing government purchases of U.S. wood products, including structural and finished products, for federal building and transportation projects;
- Funding necessary research to approve increased use of U.S. hardwoods in U.S. military truck beds, replacing imported tropical woods;
- Providing funding to research to increase domestic and international consumer demand for U.S. hardwood products including the environmental and home health benefits of hardwood product use.
The Federation then voiced support for the financial support already provided by the government.
The Hardwood Federation is the largest DC-based hardwood industry trade association, representing thousands of hardwood businesses in every state in the U.S. and acting as the industry's advocacy voice on Capitol Hill.
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