Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie leads off with some updates on PPP-3:
Return of the King, er, whatever:
CONGRESS THIS WEEK will likely vote on and pass a package to refresh the PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM, a small-business lending fund, while sending $75 billion to hospitals and setting aside $25 billion for testing.Republicans have resisted Democrats’ efforts to send money to states and localities.
THIS WAS A DEBATE THAT WAS LARGELY ABOUT NOTHING. Why? Because Democrats and Republicans mostly agreed about all the items that they were fighting for. At some point, Congress is going to have to send hundreds of billions of dollars to states and local governments. So, the REPUBLICANS’protest here will be short-lived. President DONALD TRUMP on Sunday night even conceded he is in favor of sending the state and local cash. DEMOCRATSheld out, and got modest wins — items REPUBLICANS mostly agreed with. This was a debate about the immediate order of operations, not long-term priorities. State and local out, hospitals in — who cares? It is all going to happen at some point anyway.
The LATimes email thingie pipes up:
Oversight systems are still largely dormant for the $2 trillion in coronavirus economic relief passed by Congress last month, leaving gaping holes in accountability just as the Treasury Department prepares to give hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to corporations.
The coronavirus response package was the largest in U.S. history, and lawmakers wanted to ensure adequate checks and supervision of the massive funding. But with no less than four oversight bodies now struggling to get up and running, and Congress functioning remotely because of the pandemic, lawmakers acknowledge deficiencies.
The biggest area of concern for Democrats is the nearly $500-billion fund that the Treasury Department — with significant control by Mnuchin — will use to buoy corporations. Complicating matters is Trump, who said as he signed the act into law that he would not abide by some of the oversight rules.
Back to Politico’s email thingie:
NEW: THE NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION is sending a letter to top Republican and Democratic lawmakers this morning calling for Congress to create a dedicated recovery fund for the restaurant industry, according to a draft obtained by Playbook.
THE GROUP laid out its case with some stark numbers that it obtained in a survey of more than 6,500 restaurants: 8 MILLION restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed. The industry lost $30 BILLION in revenue in March and is on track to lose an additional $50 BILLION by the end of April. More than 60% say that current federal relief programs, including the CARES Act, won’t help them keep employees on the payroll.
“THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates – suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country. As past recoveries have proven, we will be one of the slowest to bounce back,” NRA’s Sean Kennedy wrote in the letter. “For an industry with sales that exceed the agriculture, airline, railroad, ground transportation, and spectator sports industries combined, a restaurant relief and recovery program is desperately needed.”
Meanwhile, we’ve been heard, Scissorheads! It seems that the definition of Small Bidness has become enough of an issue that some of the allegedly small bidnesses realized that getting money from the gubmint was a bad PR investment:
Shake Shack Will Return Its Entire $10 Million U.S. Government Loan
“‘Shake Shack was fortunate last Friday to be able to access the additional capital we needed to ensure our long term stability through an equity transaction in the public markets,’ said Chief Executive Officer Randy Garutti and Danny Meyer, the founder and chairman of Shake Shack and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group.
“‘We’re thankful for that and we’ve decided to immediately return the entire $10 million PPP loan we received last week,’ the pair said, ‘so that those restaurants who need it most can get it now.’”
We also need to give the ole carrot as well as the stick. When a corporation behaves well, we need to support it. Kudos to Shake Shack.
Any small victories we get in the age of the Trump Virus counts double, in my book. We can argue until we are blue in the face that corporations are not people (my friends), but to the Republicans they are. To the degree that Wee the People can still create enough of an outrage that they backdown, well, it’s a good thing.