Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. introduced a proposal to “extend Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act from its current expiration of March 31, 2021 to September 30, 2021.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is co-sponsoring the proposal.
Rubio’s office offered some of the reasons why the senator introduced the bill.
“The provision allows a critical lifeline for federal agencies to maintain contractors, who would otherwise be at risk for layoff or furlough due to the pandemic,” Rubio’s office noted. “A coalition of organizations wrote in support of Rubio and Warner’s efforts to extend Section 3610, highlighting that ‘numerous organizations representing the breadth of the government industrial base, including manufacturers and service providers, from large companies to small businesses, have emphasized the importance of the 3610 authority and the need for an extension.’”
For their part, Rubio and Warner wrote U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the matter last week.
“We write to ask that Section 3610 Federal Contractor Authority of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act be extended to September 30, 2021, as freestanding legislation, as we have introduced, or as a provision on the next appropriate legislative vehicle,” Rubio and Warner wrote.
“This authority was last extended in the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2021 and is due to expire on March 31, 2021. We believe extending this authority given the prolongation of the global pandemic is critically important to the resilience of our national security industrial base. Section 3610 has proven to be an important means of providing necessary relief during the pandemic to critical Intelligence Community industry partners—and particularly to small businesses that provide highly specialized capabilities—to retain key national security capabilities,” they added. “We look forward to working with you on this important matter.”
Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. House.
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