On Thursday, May 28th, an overwhelming majority of Republican representatives voted against HR 7682, Small Business Transparency and Reporting for the Underbanked and Taxpayers at Home Act, or the TRUTH Act, which would require the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to submit a report on recipients of assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The bill failed to move forward.
Incredibly, one of the concerns with the bill was that corporations receiving federal aid could be subjected to too much transparency. Representative Steve Chabot (R – OH) argued, “I do not believe that those businesses should put on public display for potential shaming.”
Republicans did however vote in support of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which would increase the proportion of PPP loans businesses can spend on non-payroll purposes (40%, up from 25%).
Even Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended the previous cap on spending for non-payroll purposes, saying, “Let me just remind people it’s called the Paycheck Protection Program, it’s not called the overhead protection program.”
Without the very basic reporting requirements of the TRUTH Act, it is harder for the public to know which companies are getting federal bailout relief, and whether that money is making its way to workers. For now, the oversight committees are one of the few avenues to bring transparency to the general public.
Read more about this story at The Hill.