Anger mounts after corporations tap small-business relief funds… Most Small Firms Report Not Yet Getting ANY Money… Oversight of $2 trillion bailout hasn’t gotten off ground

Anger mounts after corporations tap small-business relief funds

Congress is under increasing pressure to ensure an extension of the popular Payment Protection Program (PPP) gets desperately needed funds to the small businesses it’s intended to help, not to big corporations.

Nationwide chains and companies recently revealed they received funds from the program designed for businesses with fewer than 500 employees before the $349 billion in funding ran out last week.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which has 150 locations and $468 million in revenue, received $20 million in loans. The sandwich chain Potbelly, which has more than 400 locations, and Shake Shack, with more than 200 branches, each received $10 million from the fund.

At least 17 companies with more than 500 employees — the threshold for PPP eligibility — have received a total of $143 million in relief loans, according to data compiled by the progressive group Accountable.US and public filings reviewed by The Hill.

Most Small Firms Report Not Yet Getting Money From Virus Funds

(Bloomberg) — Most small businesses that applied for two government coronavirus relief programs haven’t received any money yet, with most still planning to apply when funds ran out last week, a new survey shows.

Only about 20% of small businesses that applied for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, had money deposited in their account as of April 17, according to a survey that the National Federation of Independent Business conducted of its members. Few members received funds under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan initiative, or EIDL, a virus aid program that’s separate from PPP, the survey showed.

“Small businesses were prepared and ready to apply for these programs, the only financial support options for most, and it is very frustrating that the majority of these true small businesses haven’t received their loan yet,” Holly Wade, NFIB director of research and policy analysis, said in a statement.

The $349 billion that Congress allocated for PPP, in which the U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed loans for lenders to disburse, was exhausted on Thursday after just 13 days. The SBA also stopped accepting applications for coronavirus-related EIDL funding last week when the $17 billion allocated for that program ran out.

The Senate plans to meet Tuesday for a potential vote on a measure that includes more funding for both programs.

Oversight of $2 trillion coronavirus relief act hasn’t gotten off the ground

WASHINGTON — Oversight systems are still largely dormant for the $2 trillion in coronavirus economic relief passed by Congress last month, leaving gaping holes in accountability just as the Treasury Department prepares to give hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to corporations.

The coronavirus response package was the largest in U.S. history, and lawmakers wanted to ensure adequate checks and supervision of the massive funding. But with no less than four oversight bodies now struggling to get up and running, and Congress functioning remotely because of the pandemic, lawmakers acknowledge the deficiency.

“Oversight is occurring; it’s just not occurring as effectively as it would be if we could have committee hearings with administration testimony,” said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md. “The ideal, of course, is to get back into session, have hearings (and) call witnesses.”