Slade Gorton CEO Kim Gorton is urging US lawmakers to pass more federal stimulus, describing the catastrophic business impacts of the pandemic and how sudden foodservice closures have left seafood distributors with crushing debt.

“We estimate that the seafood industry has about $2.2 billion (€1.9 billion) in outstanding bad debt, and other distributors have about $10 billion (€8.5 billion). Small businesses cannot absorb a deficit of this magnitude," she said. "We need help to fix this."

Gorton testified Wednesday as part of a US House Committee on Small Business hearing held on the impact of the pandemic on food systems.

"If we are going to help the economy get back on track, we need to help small businesses survive this pandemic, especially restaurants,” she said. “It is imperative that Congress pass another stimulus bill.”

The committee has oversight over the Small Business Administration (SBA). Since the early days of the pandemic, the SBA has distributed approximately $525 billion (€192 billion) in stimulus funding.

(Watch Gorton speak around 1 hour, 17 minutes into the hearing)