On The Money: Trump administration releases PPP loan data | Congress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits | McConnell opens door to direct payments in next coronavirus bill
Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.
THE BIG DEAL—Trump administration releases PPP loan data: The Trump Administration on Monday released data about recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which is of interest to lawmakers as they conduct oversight of the small-business loan program.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, released data about loans made under the PPP of at least $150,000 that includes the names, addresses and business types of businesses and nonprofits that received loans.
- For each of these loans, the SBA gave a range for the dollar amount of the loans.
- The SBA also released data on loans of under $150,000 that does not include the names and addresses of recipients.
“Today’s release of loan data strikes the appropriate balance of providing the American people with transparency, while protecting sensitive payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a news release.
The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us more here.
LEADING THE DAY
Congress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits: The generous expansion to unemployment insurance Congress passed to keep Americans afloat during the COVID-19 crisis is due to run out at the end of the month, potentially leaving millions of people struggling.
Unemployment remained at 11.1 percent in June, worse than it was at the height of the Great Recession in 2009, but Congress is far from agreeing on a path forward. At the heart of the discussion is a federal policy that adds a flat $600 to every weekly unemployment check through the end of July.
- Democrats who champion the policy say it has been a crucial lifeline to the millions of Americans who were furloughed or lost jobs as a result of the pandemic.
- “It would be unconscionable for Republicans to allow supercharged unemployment benefits to expire with the unemployment rate above 11 percent and 2.3 million new unemployment claims just this week,” Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Thursday.
- Republicans, however, argue the $600 benefit has at best outlived its usefulness, or at worst has been hampering the recovery all along.
- “We have a real concern about creating an unintended incentive for people to stay on the sidelines in this economy. And that $600 plus-up in unemployment many believe has contributed to that,” Vice President Pence told CNBC on Thursday.
The Hill’s Niv Elis explains here.
McConnell opens door to direct payments in next coronavirus bill: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to open the door on Monday to including some direct payments to Americans in a future coronavirus relief bill.
“I think the people that have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. …. That could well be a part of it,” McConnell said.
The party divides:
- President Trump said late last month that he supports another round of stimulus checks.
- But GOP lawmakers have been wary, believing that the payments don’t directly stimulate the economy and went to individuals who have not been impacted financially by the spread of the coronavirus. After at first embracing big spending, Republicans appear increasingly concerned about the country’s growing debt.
Talk of doing a second round of stimulus checks comes as Congress is expected to begin formally negotiating the fifth coronavirus bill later this month, when lawmakers return to Washington on July 20.
- McConnell said Monday that he believed a fifth bill would be necessary.
- “I’ll be unveiling something, which will be a starting place, in a few weeks, and we’ll then be dealing with the administration and the Democrats and all the rest. … I think we will do something again. I think the country needs one last boost,” he said.
IRS, taxpayers face obstacles ahead of July 15 filing deadline: The IRS and taxpayers face a number of obstacles before crossing the finish line in this year’s longer-than-usual tax filing season.
The coronavirus prompted the IRS in March to extend the deadline for individuals to file their 2019 returns, and pay their 2019 taxes, from April 15 to July 15. In addition to processing returns during that time, the agency also had to implement COVID-19 relief measures passed by Congress in the spring.
“While we had to adjust and redeploy resources during the pandemic, our employees have remained dedicated to delivering the 2020 filing season,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Naomi Jagoda tells us why here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Democrats on Monday unveiled a Homeland Security spending bill for 2021 that would block funding for a border wall and leave the number of border patrol agents steady.
- U.S. stock indexes closed with major gains on Monday, as technology firms such as Netflix and Amazon rallied.
- House Democrats on Monday unveiled a health spending bill that included $24.4 billion in emergency spending related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Lawmakers are weighing tightening the qualifications for small business aid as they debate a fifth coronavirus bill.
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