On Friday, May 29th, the AAO Political Action Committee (AAOPAC), in conjunction with Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, hosted a virtual event with Congressman Brian Babin (R-TX) for AAOPAC contributors. Congressman Babin was first elected by Texas’ 36th Congressional District in 2014, and he has not only represented his constituents in Congress, but has also represented dentists. As a dentist, Congressman Babin understands the uncertainty many AAO members have faced as the nation progresses through the effects of COVID-19, the rollout of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the consequences of the economic shut down.
AAO member participants were able to share their perspectives with Congressman Babin and ask specific questions about COVID-19 relief measures at the federal level. Congressman Babin gave highlights of the House Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would provide greater flexibility for PPP borrowers. Notably, this includes provisions to extend the current eight-week period during which businesses must use funds to have loans forgiven to 24 weeks or Dec. 31, whichever comes sooner. The legislation would let businesses repay loans over five years instead of two and remove a provision requiring that no more than 25% of proceeds can be spent on expenses other than payroll. Congressman Babin also discussed the need to ensure that the U.S. supply chain can support the PPE that dentists need and his efforts and conversations with Congressional and regulatory leaders.
The AAOPAC intends to continue to host virtual events with members of Congress to provide an opportunity for AAO members to have personal, virtual meetings with members of Congress to keep them abreast of the views of the orthodontic specialty. Federal advocacy is made possible thanks to the generosity and support from members who contribute to the AAO Political Action Committee (AAOPAC). To contribute to the AAOPAC, you can click here.
Recently, the AAO, through the support of the AAOPAC, has been championing efforts at the federal level that support our members as health care professionals and small business owners, including:
- Advocating for small business relief for its members in the coronavirus relief packages
- Inclusion of a regulation from the Secretary of Labor that employers with less than 50 employees may be exempt from the emergency paid sick leave requirements
- Urging members of Congress to support legislation to increase funding for the PPP and EIDL program
- Meeting with members of Congress to discuss orthodontic issues
- Participating in policy discussions to make sure orthodontists have a seat at the lawmaking table
- Providing an avenue for members to contact their legislators
Over the past 25 years, the AAOPAC has supported congressional candidates who support the orthodontic profession. Whether it is easing the burden of student debt or supporting small businesses, the AAOPAC is, and will continue to be, the orthodontists’ voice in Washington, D.C.