Posted by 28 May 2020
The forgiveable loan program for businesses harmed by the coronavirus epidemic proved so popular that Congress had to pass two bills to fund it. But this week the House failed to pass legislation that would require the federal government to give a detailed report about who received such money.
By a vote of 269-147, the House did not meet the necessary two-thirds threshold to suspend the rules and pass H.R. 6782. Here is how VoteSpotter describes the legislation:
To require the Small Business Administration to report the name of each business that received coronavirus aid, an explanation of why that business received aid, the number of employees of each business, the lender who made facilitated the aid, and the amount of money given to small businesses owned by "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals" as well as women and veterans.
The Paycheck Protection Act provided forgiveable loans to businesses who shut down or saw business drop because of the coronavirus epidemic. They needed to meet certain criteria, however, such as re-hiring employees by June. The program proved so popular that the initial allocation of money soon ran out and Congress had to pass another bill to provide more funding.
Those who opposed H.R. 6782 said they were not against transparency, but they did not think the program should be used as a way to promote an agenda that favored certain business owners over others. The supporters argued that it is important to disclose how the federal government is spending money, especially if certain communities were being underserved.
This bill was not rejected by the House membership; the bill merely failed to get enough votes to pass through an expedited process. House leadership could still bring it back to the floor and pass it by majority vote.
Do you think that the federal government should release data on the businesses that received coronavirus aid? Should that information include data on how many businesses run by “social and economically disadvantaged individuals” received money?