Nearly 4,500 organizations have signed ASAE’s letter urging Congress to provide additional relief for associations affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Tuesday’s letter, coinciding with Global Meetings Industry Day, was addressed to House and Senate leaders and requests “$25 billion in aid for associations that face financial losses from canceled conferences and events; eligibility for associations to access small business interruption loans that prevent layoffs and continue to pay employees; and a pandemic risk insurance program to create a federal backstop for prospective insurance claims related to a pandemic or epidemic.”
In an email Tuesday to ASAE members and advocates, ASAE Vice President of Public Policy Mary Kate Cunningham, CAE, said “much work remains, and we must continue our steadfast outreach and advocacy in Congress.”
That includes, Cunningham said, writing congressional leadership and legislators using ASAE’s correspondence template. She urged letter writers to include how their organization benefits workers and the economy; how COVID-19 has impacted their organization; and, if applicable, any lobbying expense data to counteract the misconception among some members of Congress who believe Section 501(c)(6) associations’ primary function is to lobby the government.
“We all know this is untrue,” Cunningham said in her email, “and that associations support their members, workers and constituents first with education and resources. According to ASAE’s Association Operations Ratio Report, associations dedicate a median of 5.19% of resources to lobbying expenses — a figure that is much lower, if nothing at all, for countless associations and ASAE members.”
Additionally, the $2.2 trillion CARES Act excludes associations from the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides up to $10 million in forgivable loans to small businesses and Section 510(c)(3) nonprofits, among others.
Cunningham also noted in her email that U.S. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) last week sent a letter, along with 60 congressional signatories, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other leaders requesting association relief.
“We are making progress — thanks in large part to your unwavering advocacy,” Cunningham said in her email. “And these critical actions will help grow our support in Congress.”
Additional information is available at ASAE’s Advocacy and Resources webpage.