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Senate GOP blocks Democratic oversight bill for small business aid

By on March 23, 2021 0

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill that would require the Trump administration to provide new details on how aid to small businesses is dispersed. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rubio, speaking from the Senate floor, noted that some of the information Democrats requested was not required in the federal funding request and that Congress should work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide its own- even details.

“Some of the demographics aren’t on the app. It’s not even clear that they would be able to produce that for us unless they stop the process, create a new app, and start processing it. as well,” Rubio said.

He added that lawmakers should work with the SBA so that administration officials are not “burdened” by Congressional reporting requirements, warning that additional requirements could have “unintended consequences.”

“I think the best way forward is, in my view, not to adopt something like this today, although something like this may be necessary if we can’t get those numbers, but… let’s find out from first and foremost what data points do. they have?” said Rubio.

“What I don’t want to see is an already overstretched agency that’s small to start with and struggling to make all these programs work – I don’t want to see them having to take money away from people to fill these information,” Rubio said.

Democrats tried to pass a bill that would have created new oversight requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program and economic disaster loans. Under Senate rules, any senator can attempt to pass a bill by unanimous consent, but any senator can oppose it.

The bill, according to a senior Democratic official, would require daily and weekly reports on funding under small business programs, including details on geography, demographics and type of industry.

Congress passed about $660 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The latest measure approved by Congress included $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.), who thanked Rubio for his work on the small business agenda, countered that more demographic information Congress could get could help improve the program.

“As for demographic information, I understand the problem, but there are many ways to skin this cat. If we looked at ZIP codes, we would be very, very easily able to provide demographic information,” a- he declared.

Schumer noted that the coronavirus bill that Democrats have been trying to pass would be the only virus-related legislation the Senate will try to pass this week amid the pandemic. Congress has passed several relief packages in recent weeks totaling nearly $2.8 trillion.

Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), the top Democrat on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said while he’s “proud” of small business relief programs, lawmakers still don’t know “the details on how that money was distributed.”

“We’re all frustrated here, and I really appreciate the leadership. I know my president is on the floor. He demanded that information and couldn’t get it,” Cardin said, referring to Rubio. “We are going to be asked to act again without having precise information? »

“We asked for this information again and again, and we couldn’t get it,” Cardin added.