Home » Economy » Loggers wait for share of stimulus money
Loggers wait for share of stimulus money
Fox Business Flash top headlines for December 23
Fox Business Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on FoxBusiness.com.
WASHINGTON — A few months ago, those who supply America's homes with fresh Christmas trees were approved for special aid by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help against the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Continue Reading Below
Frozen out were the people harvesting their less glamorous industrial cousins: loggers and truckers behind the nation's construction, paper and furniture-making industries. Only farmers who provided species like firs and spruces to Christmas tree lots were greenlighted for relief, leaving some feeling like they would be Grinched this Yuletide after an already brutal year.
"You see all these other businesses getting all this help from the government, and it's frustrating," said Thomas Douglass, a fifth-generation logger in Maine, who said his family business was "one big equipment breakdown from a disaster."
Now, tucked inside the new $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, but facing an uncertain fate with President Trump, is $200 million in aid for the loggers and the trucking companies that transport their wares to paper mills and other processing facilities. The reason: an only-in-Washington tale of the importance of lobbying and political connections.
The National Christmas Tree Association, along with the larger nursery trade group, American Hort, has worked the corridors of power for decades. American Hort has a full-time team of lobbyists in Washington, at a cost of $1 million cumulatively over the past decade, lobbying reports show. American Hort also makes donations through its longstanding political-action committee.