Wyden Co-sponsors Legislation to Increase Transparency and Accountability of COVID-19 Small Business Relief Efforts

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today announced he is co-sponsoring legislation that would provide additional transparency and accountability to the federal government’s COVID-19 small business relief efforts.

“Oregon is overwhelmingly a small business state, and it’s essential those small businesses powering our state’s economy get the help they need to weather the financial storm touched off by coronavirus,” said Wyden, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. “This legislation ensures those small businesses creating jobs throughout Oregon receive that urgent relief by requiring federal agencies are transparent about all the federal resources that Congress intended for small businesses, ensuring larger and wealthier corporations aren’t benefiting from the shadows to siphon off funds they don’t need.”

The Transparency and Oversight of COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Assistance Act would require the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Congress and the public with timely, detailed data on the agency’s COVID-19 small business relief programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Emergency Grants Program, and the Debt Relief Program.

On April 17, Wyden, U.S. Sens Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y. sent a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging the administration officials to provide American taxpayers detailed data on how small business relief funds are being distributed.

In addition to Wyden, the Transparency and Oversight of COVID–19 Small Business Assistance Act is sponsored by Cardin, Shaheen and Schumer. The bill would require the Trump administration to provide Congress and the public with timely, detailed data on the COVID-19 small business relief programs. Specifically, the bill would require the administration to do the following:

·       issue a daily report detailing total loans and grants approved and disbursed in PPP, the EIDL and Emergency Grants Programs, and the Debt Relief Program, as well as total remaining funds available and an estimate of when the funds will be depleted;

·       release a weekly report detailing the lending trends in the program broken down by geography, demographics, loan sizes, industry, lender type; and lender and broker fees;

·       make the data on these programs available to the public in a standardized and downloadable format, including information SBA currently publishes such as names and addresses of the businesses, nonprofits, and lenders, the loan or grant amounts;

·       clarify that sensitive personal information of recipients such as social security numbers is protected; and,

·       provide Congress with a report showing how SBA and Treasury are using the $2.7 billion in administrative funding appropriated to the agencies to identify and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the programs and implement the programs.

The bill also would require the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress evaluating if the administration’s implementation of the provisions effectively reached underbanked and underserved borrowers, including a comprehensive review of the daily and weekly data, and compare PPP lending and processes by top banks to mission lenders.

A web version of this release is here.