Dec. 11, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA – Fifteen defense companies implored Congress on Friday to extend Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, saying the funds are needed to keep vital personnel on the job and national security intact as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the United States.
The program was extended until Dec. 18 under the continuing resolution Congress passed on Friday. Originally the support was to stop at the end of fiscal year 2020 in September.
These companies asked Congress to support Section 3610 funding through Sept. 30, 2021, the end of the current fiscal year. It would not cost additional appropriation dollars for the extension, which many federal agencies use “to maintain the capabilities and workforce necessary to meet mission needs and protect our national security,” the letter states.
Section 3610 is especially important to numerous small businesses, the letter states. Without the funding, they cannot afford to pay their employees when federal facilities are closed.
The funding authority began in March under the CARES Act and applies to all government agencies. It is important to thousands of employees worldwide — especially those in the defense industrial base who may face closures of classified work areas which are unable to pivot to telework capabilities – for them to stay on the job and support themselves and their families while federal facilities are closed to them.
“As COVID-19 rates hit record levels that were unanticipated not only when the CARES Act was enacted but just weeks ago, agencies are shifting work plans, reducing hours and taking other steps to ensure the health and safety of the workforce,” the letter states.
Most of these businesses are members of the National Defense Industrial Association, which has worked with them to bring the urgent matter to attention on Capitol Hill. NDIA itself was among eight trade organizations that signed a Nov. 20 letter to Congress urging an extension of Section 3610.
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