Tag: Congress

Administration Officials Urge Congress to Repurpose Unused Small Business Funds

Trump administration officials are urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would repurpose unused funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established to boost struggling businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, as negotiations on another stimulus package continue.

Steven Mnuchin wearing a suit and tie: Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2020

© Toni L. Sandys/Reuters
Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2020

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” read a Sunday letter to members of Congress from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people.”

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the administration’s latest offer of $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which included $300 billion

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White House calls for Congress to release unused small business loans

Oct. 11 (UPI) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday sent a letter to Congress calling for the release of unused Paycheck Protection Program funds amid ongoing talks on an additional round of COVID-19 stimulus.

Mnuchin and Meadows urged lawmakers to release the $134 billion in loans provided to small businesses to maintain operations and retain employees included in the $2 trillion CARES Act passed in March, while also criticizing Congress — particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer — for their “all-or-nothing” approach to negotiating additional stimulus.

“The House has passed two separate partisan bills instead of compromising with us on bipartisan legislation like we have done in the past,” they wrote. “We will continue to try to work with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer. It is not just about the top-line number but also about legislation

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Democratic proposal for more airline aid stalls in Congress

The latest effort by House Democrats to give more aid to the nation’s troubled airlines has failed

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., accused Republicans of blocking him from bringing the measure to the House floor under special rules that require unanimous agreement of the lawmakers.

American Airlines and United Airlines held back, however, saying they would wait for Congress to approve the money before recalling furloughed

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Business Leaders to Congress: ‘No Recess Without Relief’

“No recess without relief” is the refrain from a coalition of business groups, which this week sent a letter to congressional leaders imploring them to not leave Washington for the 2020 elections without passing additional stimulus. 

More than 200 public- and private-sector groups–calling themselves the Covid Relief Now Coalition–signed the letter, urging Congress to pass additional economic relief for small businesses before the November 3 election. Otherwise, they said, millions more jobs will be lost, millions of those now unemployed will lose benefits, and hundreds of thousands of companies could close their doors forever.

“This is a pivotal moment,” the letter reads. “Congress needs to rise to the occasion and cast partisanship aside to provide a lifeline to get through this pandemic. Congress’s failure to act now will result in negative economic ramifications that will reverberate for decades.”

The letter was sent amid renewed stimulus talks between congressional Democrats and

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White House backs $400 per week jobless benefit in last-ditch COVID talks with Congress

“We raised our offer to $1.6 trillion,” McEnany told reporters Thursday. “It’s one that she is is not interested in.”

Mnuchin and Pelosi are scheduled to talk by phone early Thursday afternoon, a Pelosi spokesman said.

The Trump administration is pressing for an agreement, more so than Capitol Hill Republicans.

The White House plan, offered Wednesday, gave ground with a $250 billion proposal on funding for state and local governments and backed $20 billion in help for the struggling airline industry. Both areas are of great interest to Democrats’ union backers.

Details on the White House offer were confirmed by congressional aides, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door discussions.

Pelosi postponed debate Wednesday on a Democratic alternative measure. A vote is likely on Thursday, spokesman Drew Hammill said, depending on how the Mnuchin-Pelosi exchanges go.

At the very least, the positive tone set by Pelosi and Mnuchin represented

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Congress debates leaning on Fed or PPP for small business aid

As small and medium sized businesses struggle to keep their doors open, policymakers are pointing their fingers at one another trying to figure out where support should come from.

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, members of Congress pressed the Federal Reserve to expand the scope of its emergency lending program to Main Street. 

But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell countered that the central bank’s program is ill fitted for already debt-burdened businesses, suggesting that Congress prioritize more Paycheck Protection Program loans under the Small Business Administration.

“Trying to underwrite the credit of hundreds of thousands of very small businesses would be very difficult,” Powell said of the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program in testimony. “I think PPP is a better way to approach that space in the market and I think you are well advised to do that.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on oversight of the Treasury Department's and Federal Reserve's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Pool
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies during a
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Small business leaders urge Congress to pass standalone COVID-19 relief package

The Small Business Roundtable has penned a letter to congressional leadership on behalf of 30 million small businesses urging the federal government to pass a standalone package for a new round of stimulus to help them weather the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter notes that small businesses are “on the brink of recovery and continuing to struggle to survive” due to liquidity challenges for those who have yet to reopen or who are limited by capacity restrictions and other critical health and safety protocols to protect the public, consumers, and employees from COVID-19.

“While we acknowledge the unprecedented support and resources that were directed to small businesses earlier this spring, more must be done and we write today to urge that same swift, bipartisan

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AACC Urges Congress to Fund Laboratory Training Programs to Better Prepare the U.S. for Future Pandemics

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In the face of a chronic shortage of professionals who are qualified to perform clinical laboratory tests—including those for COVID-19—AACC released a position statement today calling on Congress to provide federal funding to expand clinical laboratory training programs. This will help to ensure that labs have the staffing they need to deliver timely, accurate test results, particularly during public health emergencies such as the current coronavirus pandemic.

Read the position statement here: https://www.aacc.org/health-and-science-policy/advocacy/position-statements/2020/modernization-of-clia-moderate-and-high-complexity-testing

In spite of labs’ heroic efforts to meet the demand for coronavirus testing in the U.S., the country’s overall testing capacity continues to fall short of the levels needed to help contain the pandemic. As part of an ongoing AACC survey of U.S. labs, the association has found that a

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Members of Congress Call on USAGM to Explain J-1 Visa Denial | Voice of America

WASHINGTON – A group of House and Senate members on Monday called on Michael Pack, head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), to justify decisions that they say risk endangering the journalists and mission of USAGM’s networks, including Voice of America.

FILE – Michael Pack, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, is seen at his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Sept. 19, 2019. Pack’s nomination was confirmed June 4, 2020.

The nine Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to Pack requesting he explain how the agency’s actions, including not renewing visas for foreign journalists and the CEO’s comments on security risks, align with Pack’s stated desire to improve morale and the ability of the outlets to report and work more effectively.

Among the nine are Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and

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Opinion | Here’s a proposal that could lead Congress out of its impasse on pandemic relief

These events may signify a total impasse, impossible to resolve before the Nov. 3 election — if then. Or they may represent the inevitable political point-scoring each party, and its various factions, had to go through before striking a deal that is in both sides’ interest, as well as the country’s.

The second, more hopeful interpretation suddenly looks more plausible after Tuesday. In part, this is because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said that lawmakers “have to stay here until we have a bill,” despite a legislative calendar that calls for a month-long recess beginning Oct. 2. That’s a clear sign that she’s willing to bargain. And the Problem Solvers Caucus, a 50-person group of moderate House members, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, has released the outline of a compromise that could give majorities in the House and Senate at least some of what they say they want.

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