In a recent op-ed published in The Hill, ASAE President and CEO Susan Robertson, CAE, amplified ASAE’s calls on Congress to swiftly extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and provide relief for America’s associations during the months-long COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress has enacted several sweeping rescue packages this year to assist individuals, small businesses and various industries hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. But as Robertson points out, associations have largely been left out of these bills to date, forced to tap dwindling reserves and enact severe cost-cutting measures to stay operational during the crisis.

While negotiations remain stalled on a new COVID-19 relief bill, strengthening and expanding the PPP to include 501(c)(6) organizations holds broad support in Congress. House Democrats support PPP eligibility for all 501(c) entities in the HEROES Act passed in May, and recent Senate proposals have also included provisions to expand PPP access to 501(c)(6) groups.

Robertson reminded Congress that associations are vital to the industries and professions that will help America’s economy eventually recover and to society. Associations help train America’s workforce; create product and safety standards for everything from food packaging to building construction; define and advance standards for professional certification and codes of ethics in a wide range of professional fields; and organize community assistance programs in times of greatest need, such as after catastrophic events like the current pandemic.

“As Congress and the administration seek to jumpstart negotiations, a progressively bleak future for nonprofit associations – and countless other employers across the country – demands swift action,” Robertson said. “Consensus to revamp the PPP, among other indispensable provisions, should force both sides to reconsider their entrenched positions before the now dire outlook for our country gets worse.”