BREAKING: Fishermen and other small businesses may get another chance to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program which provides federal loans to help them stay afloat during the COVID 19 pandemic.
That information comes from the office of Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan following Tuesday’s deadline for applying for the money.
Fishermen and other businesses in Alaska were frustrated by confusion about the PPP, its complexity and inadequate application process, and the lack of support provided to banks which were to provide the stimulus money.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill extending the application period for the PPP program, which allows fishermen and other small business until Aug. 8, to access to the $130 billion still available for loans, according to Amanda Coyne, a spokesperson for Senator Sullivan’s office.
The measure still must be approved by the House of Representatives.
Sullivan said he is optimistic that the House will go along with the extended deadline.
Fishermen were told late last week that a glitch in the wording that barred fishing operations from claiming fishermen under the employee provision was fixed.
Fishermen are generally self-employed contractors who are paid based on a percentage of the value of the catch.
But the last minute change in regulations meant fishermen and fishing operations had just a few working days to gear up and apply for the relief funds.
Coyne said in a text message to KMXT, QUOTE: “Senator Sullivan understands that the narrow window provided by the recent rule change precluded many fishermen from applying before the original deadline, and he hopes that this bill passes the House so Alaska’s fishermen have until August 8 to take advantage of available PPP funding.
NOTE: The 7:20 a.m. version of this story which was read on the air, incorrectly stated the extension was approved. The extension was only approved by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. It still must be approved by the House of Representatives.