WASHINGTON (WDVM) — U.S. Senators have introduced a bill that would help manufacturing companies stay open during COVID-19.
The MEP Crisis Response Act of 2020 would help Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers, which provide small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies with resources. The $146 million in funding exempts centers from cost-sharing requirements for one year; meaning they won’t have to charge clients for services, “they need but can’t afford.”
It was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Gardner (R-Col.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
This would ensure businesses continue to manufacture goods that are increasingly important during the outbreak, like medical equipment and protective gear.
This is one of many bills Senator Tim Kaine has co-signed during the outbreak. Many of them are packages that support workers and their health. “There is no amount of economic stimulus that will be sufficient if we don’t get the public health piece of this right,” Kaine said. “Albeit sadder, and maybe, hopefully, wiser after wasting six to eight weeks with the president saying it wasn’t a problem. If we get that public health piece of this right that will be the most important thing to get the economy going again.”
A CEO and member of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership says the bill meets an immediate need. “As more and more companies [cancel contracts during this crisis], our Center will not be able to match the required federal cost-share very long,” said Dusty Cruise, CEO of Missouri Enterprise. “It is imperative that cost-share be waived so we will be able to continue business to help the manufacturers get back to normal when this pandemic passes.”