Following her call for members of Congress to disclose if they received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is introducing a bill to require just that.
“It’s really simple: if you’re a member of Congress and you or a family member benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, Americans – your constituents – should know. This bill provides greater transparency, which ensures accountability,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “The PPP has saved countless businesses and the jobs of millions of Americans, but those in Congress who are voting on it—or any issue—where a potential conflict of interest may exist need to be upfront about it. The only reason to oppose this bill is if you have something to hide.”
“Congress has authorized more than $650 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) since March. While PPP has certainly helped many small businesses around the country, taxpayers supporting this program have a right to know where such an extraordinary amount of money is going – especially if the Members of Congress who voted for the program are benefiting from it. The TRACE Act would ensure that the people who represent Americans in Congress are required to disclose any benefits from PPP. National Taxpayers Union applauds Senator Ernst for introducing this good-government measure, and we urge Congress to pass it as standalone legislation or as part of the next major COVID-19 legislative package,” said Andrew Lautz, Policy and Government Affairs Manager, National Taxpayers Union.
“Taxpayers must be able to follow the money. If members of Congress vote for subsidies or other aid that they benefit from in their private capacity, then every dime must be disclosed in as real-time as possible. This helps preserve the institutional integrity of Congress,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO & Founder of OpenTheBooks.com.
Ernst’s efforts follow a report that at least four members of the House of Representatives either received a PPP loan or had a spouse who received one. Ernst’s Transparency Requirements Aimed at Congressional Expenditures Act (TRACE Act) would require members of Congress, spouses of members of Congress, and employees of Congress to submit a financial disclosure form within 15 days of receiving a loan through the PPP. This information would be made publicly available.