Covid Stimulus Watch
Oversight is not an abstract public relations battle – it can be a matter of life and death for those struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. For every dollar lost to fraud and every day that aid is delayed, more Americans inch closer to precarity. Efficient, effective, and equitable distribution of relief funds helps ensure that all families can continue to put food on the table. If the Biden administration intends to make “build back better” more than just a campaign slogan, its oversight activity must continue on its current, productive trajectory.
On March 11, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law. Like previous Covid relief packages, the ARP allocates significant sums to American businesses, both large and small. Specifically, the bill contains almost $107 billion in direct relief to businesses and additional, significant appropriations for various employer tax credits. The remaining $1.8 trillion, however, will support direct assistance to Americans, augmented social programs, and vaccine distribution.
More than 190,000 American workers have been laid off since March across 1,900 companies that received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The companies intended to support 251,000 workers – instead, they laid off 76 percent of them. About one in eight of those workers lost their jobs permanently.