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The “Glaring Holes” in Congress’s Plan to Stabilize the Economy

“I think the question is, are there even further steps that we need to take?” the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission member Bharat Ramamurti says.

The CARES Act, which was signed into law in March, was designed to ameliorate the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the key features of CARES is a half-trillion-dollar fund, overseen by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, to loan money to businesses, states, and local governments in hopes of stabilizing the economy.

On Monday, the COVID -19 Congressional Oversight Commission, a panel supervising the disbursement of the money, released a report claiming that almost none of it has yet been spent.

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The release of this report is one of a few stumbles in the rollout of the CARES Act—the law’s Paycheck Protection Program (P.P.P.), especially, has garnered criticism for aiding large businesses and providing conflicting information about how small businesses should apply for loans.

In Senate testimony on Tuesday, the Fed chairman, Jay Powell, and the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, defended their work to senators who demanded answers on why more money has not yet been spent.

I recently spoke by phone with Bharat Ramamurti, a lawyer and political adviser serving […]

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