washington d.c. – US Senator Susan Collins met with Maine members of the National Association of Home Builders. They discussed trade issues in lumber, steel and aluminum, rising energy prices, supply chain challenges and professional training programs. Attendees included Mark Patterson of Patco Construction in Sanford, Howard ‘Chip’ Hall of Cottage Advisors in Kennebunk; Jason Labonte of Home Innovations at Saco and Melanie Merz of Home Builders and Remodelers of Maine.
“Maine homebuilders have a close working relationship with our state’s forest products industry, and they have a vested interest in maintaining the strength of this historic industry,” said Senator Collins. “During our meeting, we discussed some of the most pressing issues facing our state’s lumber industry, such as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, qu ‘it is essential to solve to help meet the high demand for housing. I look forward to continuing to be a partner on issues aimed at supporting this resilient industry and its talented employees. »
Senator Collins has argued for a new softwood lumber agreement with Canada to bring predictability and stability to this market. During a Trade Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in April 2021, Senator Collins strongly encouraged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to push back against these harmful retaliatory tariffs.
In 2020, Senator Collins and Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) introduced the Lumberjack Assistance Act establish a new USDA program to provide direct payments to loggers who have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Senator Collins, one of the main negotiators of the COVID-19 relief bill which was signed into law in December 2020, was successful in securing the inclusion of the Lumberjack Assistance Act and $200 million in funding in the final package. More than 350 Maine timber harvesting and hauling companies have been approved for a total of $12.3 million in COVID-19 relief.