NCBA CLUSA, the umbrella body for the US co-op sector, has given its backing to the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Framework, which it says offers important opportunities for co-ops.
The US government says the plan “will create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labour force, spur long-term growth, reduce price pressures and set the United States on course to meet its clean energy ambitions”.
It includes provisions on pre-school education, childcare, clean energy and climate change, affordable care and housing, with incentives including tax credits and state procurement.
NCBA CLUSA said: “Co-ops are well positioned to address many of our nation’s most pressing challenges, including the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the need to create a more equitable economy.
“The provisions of the framework make clear that the Biden administration understands the power of co-operatives – through their member-owners – to create economic opportunity and solve big challenges.
“In particular, the Rural Partnership Program holds enormous potential for co-ops across all sectors to build stronger, more resilient rural communities. Using the infrastructure of existing co-ops and supporting the formation of new co-ops, the administration has a natural partner to support locally-led solutions through flexible, long-term investments.”
The apex also reaffirmed its support for the Cooperative Lending Pilot Program in the framework. This includes a $500m pilot programme for worker and consumer co-operatives to access Small Business Administration loan products without the requirement of a personal or entity guarantee – which has long been a stumbling block for the co-op sector.
“This pilot will level the playing field for co-ops and increase access to capital for more people seeking to use this tested business model in sectors like home-based care, childcare, retail grocery and manufacturing to create good-paying jobs and locally owned businesses,” said NCBA CLUSA.
It added: “We look forward to continuing our work with Congressional leaders to pass this landmark legislation and build a more inclusive economy.”