- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2020

Most of the $500 billion in coronavirus stimulus funds that had been earmarked for emergency Treasury Department and Federal Reserve loan programs had yet to be spent as of last week, according to a report released on Monday.

The Treasury and the Fed have outlined how they plan to use $195 billion of the $454 billion allocated for Fed lending facilities in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed in March.

But as of July 15, the facilities had made just $13.6 billion in purchases and loans, according to the report from a congressional oversight commission tasked with tracking the funds.

That was up from $6.7 billion as of the commission’s last report on June 18.
The coronavirus rescue bill, known as the “CARES Act,” also set aside up to $29 billion for loans or loan guarantees to hard-hit industries like airlines and up to $17 billion for businesses “critical to maintaining national security.”

No funds for airlines had been disbursed, though Treasury has received a number of applications, according to the report.

And of the $17 billion for national security businesses, Treasury had entered into one agreement with a logistics company, YRC Worldwide Inc., on a $700 million loan, the report said.

The report said YPC has “significant liquidity issues” and that it deferred millions of dollars’ worth of pension and health care payments for its workforce earlier this year.

The company said the loan will allow it to pay off three months of missed pension and healthcare payments.

Treasury is also taking a 30% stake in the company as part of the agreement.
Senate Democrats last week proposed reallocating some of the unused Fed and Treasury money to support communities of color.

The report comes as Congress and the White House try to negotiate another round of coronavirus stimulus spending before lawmakers head home for their extended August vacations.

Some Republicans have advocated for pumping the brakes on new COVID spending, pointing out that much of the nearly $3 trillion Congress has authorized in recent months has not yet gone out the door.

The oversight commission for the $500 billion fund is supposed to have five members, but it’s been without a chairman for months.

The current members are Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, Rep. French Hill, Arkansas Republican, Rep. Donna Shalala, Florida Democrat, and Bharat Ramamurti, a former economic adviser for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently withdrew his name from consideration to lead the panel.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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