Top Democrats: Trump administration’s plan for PPP disclosure ‘inadequate’
Three House Democratic committee chairs on Monday criticized the Trump administration’s announcement that it will release certain information about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipients, saying that the planned disclosures are insufficient.
“With this announcement, Treasury and [the Small Business Administration] have agreed to a minimum level of transparency, but still fall short of taxpayers’ expectations,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement.
The PPP was created by legislation President Trump enacted in March. Under the program, small businesses can receive loans that are forgiven if they use the proceeds for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities, and if they maintain their payroll and staff levels.
Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Friday that they will release information about the business names, locations, industries, business types and demographic data of recipients of PPP loans of at least $150,000. The disclosure will reveal a range for the loan amount doled out to recipients.
For loans less than $150,000, the SBA will release totals aggregated by industry, ZIP code, industry, business type and demographic characteristics.
The Trump administration announced its plans for disclosing this information after lawmakers criticized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for suggesting during a hearing that information about loan recipients wouldn’t be made public. Treasury and the SBA said that the information they plan to disclose is the result of an agreement with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Treasury and the SBA said that loans of at least $150,000 constitute almost 75 percent of the loan dollars approved. The administration did not give a timetable for when the information about loan recipients will be released.
“We are striking the appropriate balance of providing public transparency, while protecting the payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors,” Mnuchin said in a statement Friday.
But the House committee chairs said that 85 percent of loans were for less than $150,000, so “only sharing data on disbursements above that threshold is utterly inadequate.”
“At all times, but particularly in the midst of this unprecedented economic and public health crisis, we must ensure the administration’s transparent and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Neal, Waters and Velázquez said.
The lawmakers said that Treasury and the SBA should release the names of all recipients, the dollar amount of all loans received and the names of all applicants who didn’t get loans.