Jessica L. Jeane, J.D.
Director of Public Policy & Strategic Communications
December 2, 2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released late in the evening of December 1 the names, addresses, and precise loan amounts of all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers. The disclosure comes after the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order last month requiring the SBA to release PPP borrower information.
Earlier this year, eleven national news organizations submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking records of loans issued under the PPP and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program administered by the SBA. Judge James E. Boasberg, ruling for the plaintiff news organizations, stated that “the significant public interest in shedding light on SBA’s administration of the PPP and EIDL program dramatically outweighs any limited private interest in nondisclosure.”
We Can Work it Out
Meanwhile, bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers on Capitol Hill remain focused on reviving the PPP, though reaching an agreement on specific terms seems to be an uphill battle. A group of lawmakers released yesterday on December 1 a relatively moderate $908 billion “framework” of Republican and Democratic so-called compromise proposals for additional COVID-19 relief. The measure would, among other things, revive the PPP, created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (P.L. 116-136), and would allow for the deductibility of expenses paid with PPP loans.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., too, circulated a smaller, more “targeted” economic relief proposal among lawmakers on December 1, which would provide for a second round of PPP loans but does not address PPP deductibility. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has remained adamant about the IRS’s position against allowing expenses to be deducted if paid for by a forgiven or reasonably expected to be forgiven PPP loan. President Donald Trump and Mnuchin have essentially “signed-off” on the proposal, according to McConnell.
Both of the proposals released yesterday come after months of congressional stalemate on additional economic relief.
Try to See it My Way
“We don't have time for lengthy negotiations,” McConnell told reporters on December 1. A transcript of Senate Republicans’ press briefing was sent directly to the National Society of Accountants (NSA) by McConnell’s spokesperson David Popp.
“The issue is do we want to get a result, and I would like to remind everybody that the way you get a result is you have to have a presidential signature, so I felt the first thing we needed to do was to find out what the president would in fact sign," McConnell said.
Additionally, McConnell’s bill would increase the charitable giving deduction amount to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for those filing a joint return, as well as aim to help those in the restaurant industry by making business meals 100 percent tax deductible, in line with Sen. Tim Scott’s, R-S.C., Supporting America's Restaurant Workers Act (S. 4319). The Senate’s top Democratic tax writer, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has criticized the Republican proposal, however.
Ticket to Ride
Notably, any year-end bipartisan deal reached on the PPP will need to catch a ride with a must-pass legislative vehicle such as a fiscal year 2021 appropriations package. Current government funding is set to expire on December 11.