Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On March 18, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) commended an announcement from the Small Business Administration to extend deferment of principal and interest payments for existing COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program borrowers, for a total of 30 months deferment from inception on all approved COVID EIDL loans.
This announcement comes a week after Rep. Kilmer and Sen. Cantwell led the Washington state Democratic congressional delegation in a letter to U.S. Small Business Administrator Guzman to urge SBA to extend EIDL loan deferrals to help Washington state distillers and restaurants rebound from economic losses suffered throughout the pandemic.
“Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the American Rescue Plan have helped thousands of local small businesses and restaurants in Washington, and across the nation, stay afloat and keep folks employed during the pandemic. Unfortunately, some local distillers and restaurants have struggled to get back on their feet as COVID-19 has lingered,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’m thrilled that the Biden Administration and SBA Administrator Guzman have heeded the call Senator Cantwell and I led to ensure these local businesses could get some extra grace as they work to recover. I’m grateful for my Washington colleagues who supported this effort.”
“COVID-19 cases are going down, but distillers and restaurants are still making up for months of lost revenue,” said Senator Cantwell. “For many Washington state distillers and restaurants, these loans were their last chance to keep their doors open. The Small Business Administration’s decision to extend Economic Injury Disaster Loan payments gives nearly 70,000 businesses in Washington state much-needed stability in what we all hope is the final phase of the pandemic.”
In 2021, Washington state distillers did not qualify for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund that was passed in the American Rescue Plan last March. In April of 2021, the entire Washington Delegation sent a letter to Administrator Guzman asking for the criteria to be changed to qualify Washington distillers for the RRF. Instead of changing the RRF criteria, the SBA recommended impacted distillers to apply for EIDL loans as an alternative.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Small Business Administration granted EIDL loans to 69,146 businesses in Washington state, including distillers and nearly 4,000 restaurants, totaling $6,587,606,864. Distillers continue to face decreased revenues and increased expenses, which makes EIDL loan deferrals critical for many businesses to keep their doors open.
“We thank Rep. Kilmer, Sen. Cantwell, and members of the Washington Congressional delegation for their efforts to support Washington distilleries that have struggled throughout the pandemic. Today’s announcement by the Small Business Administration is welcome news for distilleries and hospitality industry businesses across the country that continue to face an uneven economic recovery,” said Kelly Poulsen, Vice President of Federal Government Relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
“On behalf of the Washington State Distillers’ Guild, I’d like to say thank you to the SBA for extending the deferment period for EIDL loans an additional 6 months. This time will provide breathing space to many WA family owned, Main Street businesses as we rebuild after a two year pandemic,” said Mhairi Voelsgen, Founder & CEO of Brovo Spirits and President of the Washington Distillers Guild. “This is a really powerful example of the difference an engaged legislator can make- helping to safeguard small business jobs and allow WA distilleries, many of whom are mom and pop businesses, to regain their footing. Thank you to Senator Cantwell and Rep Kilmer and their excellent staff!”