Senator Warren Renews Call for Fishing Disaster Relief in Bipartisan Letter to Congressional Leadership
Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren today sent a letter with 37 other members of Congress, led by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), urging congressional leadership to approve $150 million in fisheries disaster funding. The $150 million is currently included in the Commerce, Justice and Related Agencies’ budget, and the bipartisan coalition asked that the funds be allocated in any budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 by the Appropriations Committees and the leadership of both chambers.
“For the communities they affect, fisheries disasters are as devastating as other federally-declared Disasters,” wrote the members. “Therefore, we request your assistance in ensuring that the $150 million fisheries disaster mitigation funding included in the Senate-version of the CJS appropriations bill is included in any final FY 2014 funding package. These funds could be used in a variety of ways to provide fishermen vital help including support for emergency financial assistance, operational costs where necessary, economic development programs, and science initiatives to manage the fishery in a timely way that gives confidence to all stakeholders.”
In September, 2012, a federal fisheries disaster was declared for Massachusetts. Significant cuts were made to the groundfish catch allocations of Northeast fishermen, and small businesses and families have struggled to make ends meet due to the strict limits. In response to calls for help by the Massachusetts congressional delegation, the Small Business Administration also made a series of low-interest loans available to qualifying fishermen affected by the disaster. The letter was signed by the entire Massachusetts delegation and can be read here.