Washington, DC (KINY) - The Alaska Congressional Delegation applauded a rule that allows commercial fishing businesses to account for crew member payroll when applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans.
The U.S. Department of Treasure and the Small Business Administration approved the move Thursday.
Senator Lisa Murkowski said the program has provided a lifeline to Alaska businesses to help them weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, "Many of our fishermen, the ultimate small businesses, were unintentionally left out of the mix due to the Treasury Department’s earlier interpretation of ‘eligible payroll costs,’” said Senator Murkowski. “I thank the Treasury Department for working with the delegation to ensure that fishermen have the same opportunity to fully take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program that so many American businesses have already benefited from. Enabling fishermen to secure the resources they need through PPP is not only fair, it means that these businesses so critical to Alaska have a fighting chance to stay afloat.”
Congressman Don Young said the seafood sector is a central pillar in Alaska's economy and the CARES Act was critical for mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic, "The Paycheck Protection Program created by this legislation continues to serve as a lifeline for many businesses. Unfortunately, the federal bureaucracy has prevented our fishermen and processors from taking advantage of this resource. The fix announced today by Secretary Mnuchin and the Trump Administration is welcome news for the countless Alaskans who depend on our waters for their livelihoods. I am more optimistic than ever that our seafood industry will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before. Our delegation has been working very hard on behalf of our fishermen on this crucial matter, and I want to thank President Trump for his partnership on behalf of the families in our state."
Senator Dan Sullivan said Alaska is the world's super-power of seafood as he praised the state's hard-working fishermen, "This common-sense fix to the Paycheck Protection Program, has been too long in coming, but I’m grateful that the Treasury Department finally made it happen. I’m also grateful for the many fishermen in our state who have reached out to my office proposing solutions. Going forward, we will continue to work with the fishing industry to ensure that they can take full advantage of federal funds offered as a result of COVID-19 and on-going stabilization efforts.”