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house Bill H.R. 6782

Should the Small Business Administration Make Information About its COVID-19 Relief Measures Public?

Argument in favor

The federal government’s massive spending on COVID-19 relief measures demands transparency so that taxpayers know how their money is being spent. Requiring the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make federal COVID-19 assistance recipients’ information public is needed to ensure accountability.

jimK's Opinion
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05/28/2020
The argument that the SBA is just to busy processing loan applications to let their board of directors (us) know what they have done in our name is beyond ludicrous. Perhaps they could spend less time responding to the trump’s political ‘thought police squad’ of alternate reality enforcers and spend more time reporting to the people for whom they actually work, you know- those of us who will have to foot the bill for their expenditures.
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Leslie's Opinion
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05/28/2020
Transparency is a must! @Richard: You bring up a great point of the relationship between political campaign contributions & PPP recipients. We should be able to see which companies received PPP & how much, as well as what political campaigns these companies contributed to & how much.
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larubia's Opinion
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05/28/2020
We need transparency and truth for all funding the government provides to any entity! It’s our money! We worked for it & pay our taxes to run this shin dig. We should know where every damn penny goes & why!
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Argument opposed

With only 3,200 employees and an $819 million budget, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is too small to handle the enormous workload that this legislation would force upon its employees. It could also deter otherwise deserving small businesses from participating in programs aimed at helping them weather the pandemic-induced lockdowns.

B.R.'s Opinion
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05/28/2020
Normally I would yes, but not as requested by this bill. Yes, there should be transparency, but there is also a need to protect the businesses' privacy; a compromise is needed and can serve to fulfill the request. I am sure that the SBA already has the requested information. It is just a matter of agreeing to what info should be posted publicly, eg: Type of business by category, average size of business, average loan amount granted, etc. While I understand that the SBA is very busy now, they could easily extract this info from their master file.
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Thomas's Opinion
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05/29/2020
No however the United States House of Representatives should get their asses back to Washington and start following the Constitution.
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Kaye's Opinion
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05/29/2020
This info would (should?) Be available through a FOIA request
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What is House Bill H.R. 6782?

(5/28/20 NOTE: This bill was rejected by the House on a 269-147 vote under suspension of the rules, which require a 2/3 majority for passage.) This bill — the TRUTH Act — would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make information regarding economic relief measures implemented in response to COVID-19 publicly available, including loans made under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and the newly-created Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that exceed $2 million.

Specifically, this bill would require the SBA to publish the following information on the PPP, EIDL, and other emergency grants:

  • The identities of each recipient of assistance and an explanation of the decision-making process that led to their receipt of assistance;
  • Each assistance recipient’s number of employees;
  • The date on which assistance was disbursed to each recipient;
  • The lender or intermediary through which assistance was distributed to each recipient; and
  • The amount of assistance disbursed to small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and veterans.

This legislation’s full title is the Small Business Transparency and Reporting for the Underbanked and Taxpayers at Home (TRUTH) Act.

Impact

Businesses that have received federal COVID-19 relief; PPP; Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL); and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6782

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) introduced this bill to require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make information regarding economic relief measures implemented in response to COVID-19 publicly available:

“The CARES Act was the largest distribution of taxpayer dollars in our nation’s history, and Americans deserve to know where their money is going. While we’ve managed to help millions of small businesses keep their lights on, millions more remain on the outside looking in. It won’t matter how much money we appropriate if the system by which it’s distributed is inaccessible to those who need it the most. As an entrepreneur and small business owner myself, I will be relentless in the pursuit of transparency and reforms necessary to ensure these programs work for all who need them to survive.”

The SBA explains its lack of transparency regarding loan recipients’ information by arguing that it is currently too consumed with the urgent effort ot helping small businesses through the economic downturn; at present, the SBA says that specific loan data may be released “in the near future.” In a statement, the agency said:

“At this time, the agency is focusing its efforts on assisting small businesses during this unprecedented disruption to the economy. The agency recognizes the need to balance the interests of transparency with the privacy and confidentiality issues release of loan information raises."

This legislation has 19 House cosponsors, including 18 Democrats and one Republican.


Of NoteThe Paycheck Protection Program was created with the enactment of the “phase 3CARES Act, which provided $350 billion in funding for forgivable small business loans under the PPP. Due to high demand, the initial tranche of funding was exhausted after 13 days of operation on April 16th, which aided 1.661 million small businesses and saw an average loan size of $206,000 according to SBA data tabulated by USAFacts.

Senate Republicans attempted to increase funding for the PPP a week before the initial tranche of funding was exhausted, but Democrats blocked that legislation. On April 20th, the Senate reached a compromise on a “phase 3.5” relief bill, the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act, which provided $321 billion in additional PPP funding along with funding for other SBA small business aid programs, healthcare provider reimbursement amid the coronavirus pandemic, and coronavirus testing & tracing capacity. This is the largest-ever expenditure of American taxpayer money.

However, to date, the SBA has yet to provide full transparency over its administration of the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL); this has led many to question the distribution of millions of dollars to well-financed organizations such as Shake Shack, the L.A. Lakers, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. These organizations respectively received $10 million, $4.6 million, and $20 million, all of which they have returned after coming under public scrutiny for receiving these funds.

As of Friday, May 22, the SBA had processed 4.4 million loans, totaling about $512 billion in awards of the total $671 billion in funding allocated. 


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang and Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / spxChrome)

AKA

TRUTH Act

Official Title

TRUTH Act, as amended

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Rejected May 28th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 269 Yea / 147 Nay
    IntroducedMay 8th, 2020

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    The argument that the SBA is just to busy processing loan applications to let their board of directors (us) know what they have done in our name is beyond ludicrous. Perhaps they could spend less time responding to the trump’s political ‘thought police squad’ of alternate reality enforcers and spend more time reporting to the people for whom they actually work, you know- those of us who will have to foot the bill for their expenditures.
    Like (83)
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    Normally I would yes, but not as requested by this bill. Yes, there should be transparency, but there is also a need to protect the businesses' privacy; a compromise is needed and can serve to fulfill the request. I am sure that the SBA already has the requested information. It is just a matter of agreeing to what info should be posted publicly, eg: Type of business by category, average size of business, average loan amount granted, etc. While I understand that the SBA is very busy now, they could easily extract this info from their master file.
    Like (13)
    Follow
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    Transparency is a must! @Richard: You bring up a great point of the relationship between political campaign contributions & PPP recipients. We should be able to see which companies received PPP & how much, as well as what political campaigns these companies contributed to & how much.
    Like (40)
    Follow
    Share
    We need transparency and truth for all funding the government provides to any entity! It’s our money! We worked for it & pay our taxes to run this shin dig. We should know where every damn penny goes & why!
    Like (33)
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    Why not what is there to hide? Unless small businesses weren’t the ones really getting the support.
    Like (14)
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    Absolutely! Taxpayers should have complete transparency on how our tax dollars are being spent and further, we should be fully informed on how our legislators voted. There are a lot of areas where transparency should be given to the public so we are absolutely and completely informed. There is too much corruption and misspending in Washington and too many abuses with our tax dollars. It is time for full transparency or its time to vote out anyone who is suspected of corruption. We can exact our own justice and anyone considered or suspected of hiding information should be voted out. Many of the American people are sick of being deceived and having our tax dollars abused!!
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    Oversight and transparency is critical. We need to see where all the money has been distributed.
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    TRANSPARENCY!!!!
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    Let the SBA Funding Facts Fall Were They May..... The federal government’s massive spending on COVID-19 relief measures demands transparency so that taxpayers know how their money is being spent. Requiring the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make federal COVID-19 assistance recipients’ information public is needed to ensure accountability. SneakyPete. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 5.28.20
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    More transparency in everything the government does.
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    Without a doubt. When we taxpayers have to foot a three trillion, or more, debt, (in addition to the several trillion he’s has already cost us in tax relief for the very wealthy, just for starters),you’re damn right we should have an accounting of where EVERY CENT WENT! We know sticky fingers got his fair share, now don’t we, even if it was surreptitiously? B.R., I call Bullshit! When the USA gives ANY MONEY OR ASSISTANCE TO ANY BUSINESS, TAXPAYERS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW. FOR GOD’S SAKE, WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK IS FOOTING THE BILL? NEVER DIMWIT, THAT’S A FOR SURE. Absolutely, Leslie, jimK, Robert et al...
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    If everything is being done ethically/on the up & up, they shouldn’t be worried about publicizing their info.
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    Good government is transparent. The American taxpayers have a right to see how these dollars are being spent and which businesses are receiving this assistance. Provide a site for us all to be able to see.
    Like (7)
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    Sunshine is the best disinfectant. We already know that the PPP funds went to companies that, not to put too fine a point to it, are not small. Any publicly owned company is not a small company. They want their franchises to be independent when it comes to hour and wage violations but, they count them in when it suits their bottomless pockets.
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    Transparency is ALWAYS a positive.
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    The Small Business Transparency and Reporting for the Underbanked and Taxpayers at Home (TRUTH) Act, which would direct the Small Business Administration to explain and justify all disbursements of coronavirus relief funds, ensuring transparency and accountability from this critical agency.
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    Transparency.
    Like (6)
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    Of course
    Like (6)
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    Everything the government does should be public
    Like (5)
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    As others have said, sunlight is the best disinfectant. It's also our money. We deserve to know who it's spent on.
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