Government affairs year in review


January

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issues new regulations on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Jan. 6. The PPP loan portal opens later in the month.

The American Rental Association (ARA) provides a PPP summary and list of changes included in H.R. 133, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

ARA provides an explanation of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. The code associated with a business is supposed to represent a preponderance of its business. It is very likely that changing one’s NAICS code to qualify for additional PPP funds would be construed as fraud by the government.

ARA’s board of directors calls on members to advocate for the industry — with members of Congress — as it continues to be impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

February

ARA sends a letter to Brian Deese — who is leading President Biden’s effort to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act — proposing a new program of long-term, low-interest capital loans for small businesses still impacted by the pandemic.

ARA ramps up efforts to address the NAICS codes, a process that can take multiple years for change.

March

ARA cancels its annual National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C., due to the pandemic.

President Biden signs the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law on March 11.

The SBA increases the maximum amount small businesses and nonprofit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

The U.S. Senate votes to extend PPP to May 31 and sends the bill to President Biden’s desk.

A ban on certain foreign work visas, which was first put into place in June 2020, ends.

April

ARA creates a new group to help advocate for the event rental industry, as it continues to struggle through the pandemic. The ARA Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup holds its first meeting on April 1.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will make a supplemental increase of 22,000 visas available for the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program.

May

To help push for much needed COVID-19 relief, ARA and 11 other associations form the Economic Bridge Coalition (EBC) to ask Congress and the Biden Administration to help businesses recover and re-hire.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signs House Bill (HB) 50 into law. This new legislation, which has been a priority of ARA and the ARA of Louisiana for a long time, will exclude state and local sales and use-tax for certain re-leases or re-rentals for rental dealers who rent heavy and general tool equipment on a short-term basis.

June

The Stop the HIT Coalition, of which ARA is a founding member, has worked to oppose Health Insurance Tax (HIT) at the state level. Connecticut’s state leaders pass a bipartisan budget with the agreement not to raise any taxes, including the HIT.

The Custom Tailors & Designers Association joins the EBC — which includes ARA and a dozen other associations.

ARA joins numerous companies and organizations to endorse the Recognizing and Ensuring Taxpayer Access to Infrastructure Necessary for GPS and Satellite Communications Act or the “RETAIN GPS and Satellite Communications Act.”

July

The U.S. Senate votes to take up a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

August

ARA joins numerous organizations and associations in sending a letter to each U.S. Senator asking them to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The Senate passes the bipartisan infrastructure bill — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The bill moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.

September

President Biden announces new changes to the COVID-19 EIDL program — including increasing the maximum amount of funding a small business can borrow.

ARA and 109 other associations and organizations send a letter to each House of Representatives member asking them to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

ARA joins numerous other associations and organizations to send a letter to key members of the House and Senate asking them to continue access to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through the end of 2021.

October

Dozens of members of ARAPAC, ARA’s political action committee, and their guests gather during The ARA Show™ for the ARAPAC Reception: Vintage Vegas Starring the Rat Pack. The event and virtual online raffle raised more than $32,000. That money will be used to support candidates running for federal office who support a pro-business environment — regardless of party affiliation.

November

On Nov. 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a new emergency temporary standard (ETS). Under this standard, covered employers must have a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a testing and face covering policy. OSHA suspends the ETS on Nov. 16. The decision came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s standard.

On Nov. 5, the House of Representatives passes the bipartisan infrastructure package. President Biden signs it on Nov. 15.

ARA calls on all members to contact their senators to express the need for additional COVID-19 relief for the rental industry. ARA encourages members to send a customizable letter from the EBC website — economicbridgecoalition.org.

During ARA’s Leadership Conference, held Nov. 18-20 in Rosemont, Ill., a record $22,050 is raised for ARAPAC.

December

OSHA extends the comment period for the COVID-19 vaccination and testing ETS to Jan. 19, 2022.

The ARA Equipment Rental Advocacy Workgroup and ARA Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup meet.

 

Advocacy groups plan for the future

The American Rental Association (ARA) Equipment Rental Advocacy Workgroup and ARA Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup both met the week of Dec. 5, in Rosemont, Ill., to discuss issues their businesses are facing and to plan for the future.

The ARA Equipment Rental Advocacy Workgroup includes:

• Scott Irwin, Delux Rental, Ypsilanti, Mich., and ARA president-elect.

• Tim Allen, Allen Rental, Roseburg, Ore., co-chair of the ARA Equipment Rental Shared Interest Group (SIG).

• Alex Bauman, In-A-Pinch? Rent It!, Martinsville, Ind.

• Larry Cox, Sunstate Equipment Co., Phoenix

• John Jeanguenat, RentalMax, Carol Stream, Ill., co-chair of the ARA Equipment Rental SIG.

• Jeff Lignugaris, Northside Tool Rental, Atlanta

• Ed Noonan, United Rentals, Stamford, Conn.

• Hunter Patin, Bottom Line Equipment, Lafayette, La.

• Jeff Roberts, City Rentals, Ontario, Calif.

• Trish Southard, D.J.’s Rentals & Sales, Elk City, Okla.

 

The ARA Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup includes:

• Dan Hooks, CERP, Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C., and ARA president

• John Bibbo, CERP, Event Source, Cleveland

• Sara Blood, Blood’s Catering & Party Rentals, White River Junction, Vt.

• Bryan Bolt, TopTec Event Tents, Moore, S.C., and an ARA Associate Member director.

• Brady Castro, PRO EM National Event Services, Phoenix

• Jeff Crotto, CERP, All About Events — Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla., and ARA Region Three director.

• Delores Crum, CERP, Premiere Events, Austin, Texas, and chair of the ARA Event Rental SIG.

• Michael Fitzwater, Special Events Entertainment, Portsmouth, Va., and ARA Region Two director.

• Bernhard Gentsch, Anchor Industries, Evansville, Ind.

• Dave Markey, Pedersen’s Rentals, Seattle

• Lenny McClain, Event Rents, Englewood, Colo.

• Jared Medaris, CERP, Expo Events, Fresno, Calif.

• Brian Richardson, L & A Tent Rentals, Trenton, N.J.

• Jane Hutton, Arena Americas, Oak Creek, Wis.

Both groups discussed the impact of the pandemic, infrastructure legislation, workforce development and taxes in their respective aspects of the rental industry. The Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup also discussed the recent advocacy activity of the Economic Bridge Coalition and how it can continue its efforts to help those businesses greatly impacted by the pandemic.





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