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Congress must act to keep America’s infrastructure strong


Congress must move quickly to approve a collection of bills that will help ensure the country’s economic infrastructure is in place and healthy enough to allow for a swift postpandemic rebound. In particular, Congress should approve the HR 7690 and S4233, which are collectively known as the “Logger Relief Package.” HR 7690 was intrwoduced by North Carolina Republican Rep. David Rouzer and Republican Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine.

The package draws bi-partisan support.

The American Loggers Congress (ALC) had proposed the legislation in May, over concerns of reduced or lost markets, because of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Less demand for wood fiber results in fewer markets for loggers.

A prolonged downturn could be devastating for the many small family-owned logging and log trucking businesses.

This could have a domino effect through rural communities in Wisconsin, and elsewhere, causing a potential cascade of broken businesses.

While any business must be able to weather the ups and downs of the normal business cycle, the circumstances of this downturn are unique and potentially catastrophically disruptive to the country’s core logging infrastructure.

Logging is one of the fundamental tiers of the state economy, and along with agriculture and manufacturing, serves as a base-level economic generator, transforming resources into income.

They are a key link in the supply chain that ultimately employs tens of thousands of workers throughout the state and country.

The concern of the ALC and others, is how long can small businesses tread water hoping for things to return to normal? Logging industry analysis predict a two-year dip before logging recovers. Two years is a long time to tread water.

If the base businesses go under, the entire supply chain could go with it.

The proposed Logger Relief Package would provide grant funds to allow these small businesses to meet their financial obligations and keep their business viable for the coming year, as the economy rebounds.

Similar bi-partisan measures have been proposed for other areas of the economy and they should likewise be supported. America has long been in the business of subsidizing essential industries, such as for the exploration of petroleum and natural gas, pharmaceutical companies developing new medications, and aviation through lucrative military contracts.

It is time for Congress to look beyond bailing out multibillion companies and instead, give a boost to small businesses who are disproportionally suffering under the prolonged economic impact of the pandemic.

America must be willing to invest in keeping its core infrastructure strong and functioning, while faced with unique challenges.

Contact Rep. Tom Tiffany, and Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, and urge them to support the Logger Relief Package and other legislation, that will help keep American supply chains strong.

Members of the Courier Sentinel editorial board include publisher Carol O’Leary, general manager Kris O’Leary and Star News editor Brian Wilson.