Cantwell to Mnuchin: Protect Critical Aviation Jobs, Support the Aerospace Supply Chain as CARES Act Intended

136,000 workers in Washington state are employed in the aerospace supply chain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin urging him to expand the allocation of $17 billion in loans to businesses critical to national security established under the CARES Act to include the entire aerospace supply chain and the workforce of those companies.  

“Treasury’s implementation of the loan program has not adequately addressed the needs of the aerospace supply chain and its workforce, which is fundamental to America’s industrial base,” Cantwell wrote to Mnuchin.

In a Commerce Committee hearing on May 6, Eric Fanning, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association, highlighted some of the ways in which the CARES Act loan excludes certain businesses.

Senator Cantwell pointed these out in her letter, writing, “Secretary Fanning noted that applicants must have a current “DX-rated” contract or a top secret facility clearance, which renders ineligible any companies that perform national security work on an unclassified basis.  In addition, Treasury provided only a week’s notice for applicants.  These two limitations likely explain why Treasury received only a limited number of applications and for amounts lower than expected.”

Cantwell also urged Secretary Mnuchin to reopen the application process for the loan program to allow more aerospace companies to qualify: “While the CARES Act permits Treasury to make unused funds from this $17 billion available for other programs and facilities established by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, before you do so I strongly encourage you also to re-open the application process for the $17 billion in federal funds using that revised criteria to ensure that the funds go the companies and workers as intended.”

The aerospace sector in Washington state employs 136,000 workers throughout the supply chain. A 2018 study on the economic impact of the aerospace industry in the state estimated that it generated $19 billion in labor income and $89 billion in business revenue in 2017.

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.