2020: What Else Can We Handle?
Stephen A. Borg
What an absolutely crazy first half of the year it has been! We’ve had a rip-roaring economy to start the year, a modern global pandemic the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetimes, a massive economic downturn as the world shutdown to try to stem the spread of COVID-19, record unemployment insurance filings, massive government stimulus spending, worldwide protests in response to racial injustice, a recent rebound in economic performance…and I haven’t even mentioned it is a presidential election year!
Primary elections have been rescheduled, congressional offices have shuttered their doors to outsiders, webcams have taken on a whole new level of importance, and dry cleaning bills have plummeted. The MCAA and every other association had to cancel their annual Washington D.C. fly-in, fundraisers MCAA has attended have been virtual over Zoom, and depending on what state you reside in you might not have been able to conduct construction projects in any normal fashion.
A whole lot has changed over these past six years, some that are temporary, and some that are most likely changed forever. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the work the MCAA has been putting in on your behalf during these unprecedented times. If you have read this magazine over the past years you will have no doubt seen numerous columns from me discussing the importance of building long-term relationships with your members of Congress and opening up lines of communication between you and these offices.
Well, guess what? The relationship that you have with the MCAA has been cultivating for years, and has paid off in these crazy times. MCAA’s leadership and I have been able to have a major voice throughout the country and especially in Washington D.C. during these tumultuous times. The impact we have had is because of the great relationships we have built.
Whether it has been voicing concerns and ensuring favorable provisions in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for our small business members, or pushing back on Congressional and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) efforts to promulgate permanent rules on employer mandates in the face of COVID-19. As well as, continuing to push for expanded investments in infrastructure projects that are not simply roads and bridges. The MCAA has continued to have a huge impact in the virtual halls of Congress, and our work is not done.
Since the beginning of March, the federal government and most state and local governments, have been solely focused on containing the spread of COVID-19. Putting in place regulations and funds to help citizens and employers stem the impact of broad-based job loss and economic recovery efforts. While those efforts and debates are continuing with discussions of a fourth COVID-19 response package, Congress has also recently started moving on other “must-pass” pieces of legislation, such as the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bills and the National Defense Authorization Act.
In addition, action has recently been taken in the House of Representatives on a draft $1.5 trillion infrastructure package that includes funding programs for numerous construction-related activities that the MCAA has been pushing for recently, such as new construction and renovation of school buildings. We were pleased that Members of the House heard our call for broader infrastructure projects rather than just roads and bridges. We will continue to push for these programs in any final package that ultimately passes later in the year.
While we are unsure what the second half of 2020 has in store for us as a country, you can be sure that the Mason Contractors Association will continue to make your voice heard, and make sure you and your businesses are protected and promoted.