A Watchdog Asks Why the Trump Administration Removed a Key Requirement for Pandemic Loans

Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Zuma

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

A congressional oversight panel wants to know why the Trump administration and the Federal Reserve are no longer requiring businesses seeking coronavirus relief loans to attest that the pandemic was the source of their financial woes.

The CARES Act, passed in early April, created the Main Street Lending Program, which was designed to make it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses that lost money because of the public health emergency to acquire loans. But on April 30, the Treasury Department and the Fed revised the program’s term sheets to remove a requirement that companies attest that they need the financing “due to the exigent circumstances presented by the coronavirus disease.”

The Congressional Oversight Commission, the watchdog group created to oversee the Fed’s and the Treasury’s management of CARES Act funds, asked in a report Monday why the clause was removed. “Without this requirement,” the authors added, “how will the agencies ensure they are providing liquidity ‘to eligible businesses, [s]tates, and municipalities related to losses incurred as a result of coronavirus’?” The bipartisan commission, which consists of Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and former Elizabeth Warren staffer Bharat Ramamurti, is vowing to find out.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate