Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On Feb. 9, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01), along with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), led a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help ensure that small businesses and fisheries from federally-recognized Tribal communities can equitability benefit from the agency’s resources in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Following the SBA’s recent announcement of their new Tribal Consultation Policy, the lawmakers expressed strong support for the agency’s efforts to address long-standing barriers facing Tribal small businesses and called attention to the unique challenges faced by Tribal small businesses and fisheries in Washington state.
“[…] we wanted to draw your attention to a unique challenge facing certain small business owners, who are also members of a federally recognized Tribe, and cannot access traditional SBA lending products,” the lawmakers wrote.
They continued, “Most recently, barriers to SBA products and assistance were highlighted when Tribal small businesses in our home state could not access critical relief funds provided by the SBA during the coronavirus pandemic, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and the EIDL Targeted Advances. The inability for these small Tribal businesses, including thousands of Lummi Nation and the Quinault Indian Nation Treaty fishers, to access SBA programs harmed Tribes and Tribal members during a time of economic need. We ask that you work with us to address these unique challenges for Tribal small businesses so that they can access SBA products now and in the future.”
U.S. Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen, Marilyn Strickland, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, M.D., and Adam Smith also signed the letter. The full letter can be found HERE.