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Washington, DC — A bill extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from March 31 to May 31 is likely to be signed by President Joe Biden in the coming days, but Senate Republicans could have ended the program known to be littered with fraud and incentivization for authoritarian lockdowns to continue.
By a 92-7 vote on Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved of the extension. The Senate website stated a three-fifths majority was necessary for passage meaning Republicans could have defeated the extension.
The seven no votes were all Republican: Mike Crapo (ID), Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (MO), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), Jim Risch (ID) and Richard Shelby (AL). Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, also a Republican, did not vote.
Earlier this month, on March 16, the House gave it an even more resounding victory with a 415-3 vote. The three no votes were all Republican: Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Thomas Massie (KY-4) and Tom McClintock (CA-4).
After the House vote, Massie tweeted a series of questions: “Where is the Constitutional authority for Congress to spend this money? Who will absorb the cost? Why give governors more incentives to keep their businesses hamstrung?”
At a March 24 Small Business Administration (SBA) committee hearing, the day before the Senate vote, Paul noted that the SBA’s Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have reported “startling revelations on the lack of internal controls at SBA” and no fraud risk assessment has been done on the program.
Paul outlined one case of fraud through the PPP in which a group applied for 90 loans from the program for over $24 million, and “at least 42 of these fraudulent PPP loans were approved and funded for approximately $17.4 million.”
The PPP was created a year ago as part of the CARES Act, the largest spending bill in American history costing $6 trillion between spending and Federal Reserve liquidity measures, signed by former President Donald Trump. The stated purpose of the program was to prevent small business owners from going out of business, but despite over $1 trillion going out from PPP “thousands of small businesses have permanently closed throughout the country due to Orwellian lockdowns and capacity restrictions,” Paul said.
Paul noted at a previous SBA committee hearing, on March 17, that the GAO has classified small business loans as high-risk for the first time in history.
“Without adequate controls, the program has benefitted large, well-financed businesses, alleged fraudsters and organizations like Planned Parenthood,” Paul said. “Despite the widespread evidence of fraud and misuse within the PPP, Congress expanded and funded the program four times.”
Paul added: “We should demand these governors stop imposing arbitrary rules and stop illogically picking winners and losers. We simply can’t keep printing and borrowing trillions of dollars when the best thing we can do to provide relief now is to simply reopen the economy.”
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