Shipbuilders trade group joins lobbying efforts for Section 3610 expansion

By Justin Katz / July 22, 2020 at 4:35 PM

A trade group representing dozens of shipyards that are routinely employed by the Navy and the broader U.S. government are asking Congress to include their workers in legislation to reimburse contractors unable to work due to the coronavirus.

"Section 3610 of the CARES Act authorized government contractors to be reimbursed for employees who could not work as a result of COVID-related closures," according to a July 21 letter by the Shipbuilders Council of America and sent to top congressional leadership.

"The U.S. shipyard industry was deemed essential from the beginning of the pandemic and shipyards have remained in operation. For these companies, Section 3610 largely has not been applicable," according to the letter signed by SCA President Matthew Paxton.

The "CARES Act" refers to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, legislation designed to insulate damage done to the country as a result of the ongoing global pandemic.

"Absorbing these COVID related costs without the necessary appropriated reimbursements could seriously jeopardize the shipyard industrial base which would have a degrading effect on our nation's national security," Paxton wrote.

SCA is not alone in lobbying Congress about Section 3610.

The Professional Services Council and Aerospace Industries Association earlier this month both sent separate letters to lawmakers asking the provision, which is set to expire Sept. 30, be extended.

A group of executives representing the country's largest defense contractors sent their own letter to Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord expressing concern that Section 3610 allows for contractors to be reimbursed but fails to appropriate any funding to do so.