Take Action Alerts

April 12, 2021

Toolkit Provides Samples Posts and Graphics for Social Media

Sample social media graphic from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

As part of its efforts to oppose the proposed PRO Act, which would substantially rewrite the country’s labor laws, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has published a Stop the PRO Act Toolkit. FEDA encourages members to use these sample posts for social media, letter templates, and graphics to urge their legislators to vote “no” on the bill.

Additionally, the Chamber held a Day of Action on Apr. 6 asking trade associations, state and local chambers, and concerned Americans to make their opposition to the proposed law known on social media using the hashtag #StopthePROAct.

For more information on the PRO Act and how it will alter existing labor laws, click here.

March 8, 2021

Proposed Bill Would Overhaul Union Organizing Process

Summarized from Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on pro-union legislation entitled the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) have come out against the bill for the “radical” way it would rewrite the country’s labor laws and implement policies that were previously rejected by the judicial system, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, and/or abandoned by the agencies asked to enforce them. The bill would undermine worker rights, drag employers into unrelated labor disputes, disrupt the economy, and force individual Americans to pay union dues regardless of their wishes.

According to the NAW, the proposed changes in the bill include:

  • Replacing the private, secret ballot in union certification elections with a system called “card check.” Secret ballots are the only way to protect an individual’s freedom to choose without subtle or overt coercion.
  • Would prohibit arbitration agreements in employment contracts.
  • Would require employers to provide union organizers the contact information for all employees without prior approval from the employees themselves. Nor would the employees be able to opt-out of this requirement or have a say in which contact information is provided, exposing them to potential harassment and intimidation tactics.
  • Eliminates Right-to-Work protections for workers across the country, including in the 27 states that have passed Right-to-Work laws.
  • Significantly shortens the representation election time frame, allowing organizers to silence debate about the possible disadvantages of unionization generally or the specific union in question.
  • Eliminates employers’ ability to challenge union misconduct during elections and greatly expands the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) power to impose union representation on employers and employees without an election.
  • Expands the standard for determining when two separate companies are “joint-employers” and forces “joint-employers” to be mutually responsible for labor violations.
  • Would force a breach of attorney-client confidentiality and make it more difficult for employers to access legal counsel or other expert advice on complex labor and employee relations issues during union organizing drives.
  • Allows unions to engage in recognitional picketing indefinitely.

The NAW is strongly urging businesses to reach out to their legislators to oppose the PRO Act by visiting this link. The U.S. Chamber is also offering a form email business owners can send to Congress here.

February 22, 2021

Blueprint for State and Local Restaurant Recovery Urges Grants and Tax Relief

Since the pandemic began nearly a year ago, more than 110,000 restaurants have closed and 2.5 million restaurant employees remain unemployed. Returning to pre-pandemic levels will require the support of state and local governments, which is why the National Restaurant Association has launched the Blueprint for State and Local Restaurant Recovery and sent a letter to Greg Fischer, president of the United States Conference of Mayors.

The initiative urges lawmakers in legislatures and city councils across the country to take action that will help the restaurant industry survive the winter and ongoing pandemic. This may include:

  • Creating grants, tax credits, and tax breaks for restaurants and employees
  • Extending to-go cocktails or making them permanent
  • Providing property tax relief
  • Fully funding tourism promotion programs for 2021 and beyond

To amplify this effort, the National Restaurant Association is asking businesses to sign this petition calling on local leaders to act.

February 15, 2021

Businesses Asked to Contact Legislators

The National Restaurant Association is asking businesses to urge their legislators to co-sponsor the unified RESTAURANTS Act of 2021.

The bill, which was introduced by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), builds off the National Restaurants Association’s Blueprint for Recovery plan to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. It would establish a $120 billion revitalization fund to support independent restaurants and small franchises with 20 locations or fewer as they deal with the long-term structural challenges created by the impact of the pandemic. Federal grants under the bill could be used for a variety of business expenses, from retaining workers to inventory and rent.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are expected to include the text of RESTAURANTS Act in their upcoming COVID-19 relief bill. In the meantime, the National Restaurant Association has said the act needs as many bipartisan cosponsors as possible to demonstrate the immediate urgency of saving the restaurant industry.

The organization has set up a page to help businesses easily and quickly reach out to their senators and represents to ask them to cosponsor the bill. Please click here to add your voice to the effort.

February 4, 2021

Votes Set for Minimum Wage and RESTAURANTS Act

The Senate is slated to take procedural votes today on two amendments that are critical to the restaurant industry. The first is the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and eliminate the tip credit, a move which is expected to further harm a restaurant industry that is still hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is the Senate version of the RESTAURANTS Act, which would provide relief to local independent and franchised restaurants affected by COVID-19.

In support of the National Restaurant Associations, FEDA is asking members to contact their legislators to oppose the minimum wage increase and support the RESTAURANTS Act.

“A strong bipartisan vote tomorrow will go a long way in our continued fight on behalf of the industry,” the National Restaurant Association said of the RESTAURANTS Act.

The National Restaurant Association has set up two forms to help businesses reach their legislators, both of which are linked below.

January 25, 2021

#RallyForRecovery Advocates for Putting Employees Back to Work

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is making another push to urge lawmakers to support COVID-19 recovery legislation.

The latest effort asks businesses to send a letter to their congressional representatives asking them to turbocharge vaccination efforts, pass a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package and address the country’s workforce challenges, including working training programs and fixing the immigration system. FEDA members interested in signing on to the letter may do so by visiting this page.

Additionally, the Chamber has created the hashtag #RallyForRecovery and the 2021 State of American Business Toolkit to help businesses reach lawmakers on social media.

At the recent 2021 State of American Business address, U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue said: “Working together, we can recover and rebuild, we can reform what’s broken, we can reaffirm our leadership, and we can renew the American promise of equal opportunity for all… Let’s go do it.”

January 18, 2021

Coalition Formed to Advocate for Infrastructure Package by Independence Day

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced a new initiative – titled Build by the Fourth of July – which calls on Congress to enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package that stimulates the economy by July 4, 2021. The initiative is in partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-D.C. based think tank that strives to combine ideas from both major political parties to promote health, security, and opportunity ­for all Americans.

This coalition brings together a diverse group of organizations including the North America’s Building Trades Unions, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, as well as other leading business, policy and labor organizations as we expand upon work from a broad coalition of transportation and infrastructure groups, with an emphasis on building new partnerships to address our nation’s infrastructure needs.

According to the coalition, comprehensive infrastructure legislation should:

  • Repair and update the nation’s crumbling infrastructure
  • Stimulate the economy and create middle-class sustaining jobs
  • Address climate change
  • Promote fiscally and environmentally friendly policies
  • Improve federal project approvals
  • Address the digital divide

“Our long-term economic recovery requires building a governing coalition committed to bipartisan solutions, and tackling a long overdue infrastructure package is an immediate way the new Congress and new administration can demonstrate their shared commitment to the betterment of the country,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue. “Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure is not only one of the fastest and most direct ways to create new jobs and spur economic growth now, but also it will sustain our modern economy for the long-term. The coalition members may not agree on every issue or detail, but we understand the importance of working together for the greater good of the American people. We strongly urge policymakers to do the same and enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package as one of their first priorities.”

To elevate infrastructure as a priority, the U.S. Chamber is mobilizing businesses to secure commitments from legislators to enact a bill into law by the next Independence Day. Businesses that wish to join the effort can do so at this link.

“National infrastructure investment is the best idea that never happens. Congress must seize this opportunity to jump start our economy, repair aging systems, and advance the modern technologies needed to confront climate change.” Said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

December 14, 2020

Action Alert: Association Reports Broad Bi-Partisan Support to Reverse IRS Ruling

Summarized from Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

Extension and possible expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will almost certainly be included if a COVID-19 relief package gets through Congress this month. Moreover, even if a larger COVID package is not agreed to, there is still a chance that a PPP bill could pass.

One of the key issues to be decided on the PPP is whether Congress will pass legislation to reverse the IRS ruling that PPP borrowers cannot deduct otherwise-tax-deductible expenses if paid with a forgiven loan. There is broad and bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate for fixing this IRS-created problem, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is adamantly supporting the IRS position and opposed to Congress acting to reverse the agency decision. NAW and our association colleagues have been aggressively working to persuade Congress to act to enforce Congressional intent despite the Secretary’s opposition.

To contact your legislators and urge the reversal of the IRS ruling, please visit this page.

In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said it’s time for Congress to pass the Small Business Expense Protection Act to safeguard small businesses’ tax deductions during this unprecedented pandemic. The Small Business Expense Protection Act will clarify Congress’ intent and ensure businesses are still able to deduct these business expenses as usual. The bill has three dozen bipartisan cosponsors, and this fix won’t cost one more dollar of federal money than expected because this was Congress’ intent all along.

December 2, 2020

FEDA Asks Members to Push Legislators to Protect PPP Deductions

As 2020 winds down, businesses are still waiting for necessary fixes to the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program that would protect the original intent of the critical COVID-19 relief bill. Chiefly, when the CARES Act passed earlier this year it included language stating that normally deductible expenses paid for through a PPP loan that was later forgiven would remain deductible. However, the IRS later ruled such expenses would not be eligible for a write-off, conflicting with the CARES Act.

FEDA and other associations, including the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), have been pushing to have this IRS rule reversed. Two pieces of legislation, S. 3612 and H.R. 6821, that would restore the intended ability for businesses to deduct expenses paid for by forgiven PPP loans have been stuck in committee since spring with no formal vote.

FEDA is asking members to reach out to their legislators to urge them to pass this much-needed correction. The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants recently distributed a draft email that businesses can use when contacting their representatives.

I am writing you today to strongly encourage you to include in any year-end, must-pass legislation language that will allow millions of small business owners a tax deduction for expenses paid with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiven loans.

Bills have been introduced in the Senate (S.3612 sponsored by Senator Cornyn (R-TX)) and in the House (H.R. 6821 sponsored by Representative Holding (R-NC) or H.R. 6754 sponsored by Representative Fletcher (D-TX)) that would ensure that PPP loan recipients are provided the full benefits intended in the CARES Act.

All Americans have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and your actions in Congress have provided much-needed assistance to millions of struggling businesses.

It is important that you ensure that these same businesses are not also subject to additional and unexpected taxes as they continue to struggle to survive.

Borrowers who are eligible for forgiveness of their PPP loans have spent the funds as the program directed. Unless they are allowed to deduct these expenses, they may be forced to spend additional funds to pay taxes on the loan proceeds – funds they may not have. Passing this legislation as quickly as possible will provide small business owners more certainty as they focus on year-end business planning that is especially important in these challenging economic times.

I ask that you contact your Senate and House leaders to ensure that PPP loan forgiveness deductibility language is passed by Congress before the end of the year.

To find your U.S. representative and his or her contact information, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner. For your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.