Biden slams COVID-19 stimulus legislation that his own party supported

Some loans went to large companies due to a loophole in the CARES Act, passed by the Democratic-led House, GOP-led Senate, and Congress didn't include a public disclosure requirement

Biden speaks on coronavirus, March 12, 2020
Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 in Wilmington, Del., March 12, 2020.
(Saul Loeb/Getty)
Last Updated:
May 11, 2020 - 2:33pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Democratic president candidate Joe Biden is criticizing coronavirus-spending legislation that members of his own party helped pass in the House and Senate.

Biden has instead placed blame on 2020 rival President Trump for flaws in the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which was setup by the legislation known as the CARES Act.

The bill passed 96-0 in the Republican-led Senate and passed by a voice vote in the Democratic-led House. Both chambers passed additional funding for the program last month.

"Here's how it worked. Trump's Treasury Department allowed corporations with connections to go right to the front of the line to get the concierge service that they got. Meanwhile, the mom and pop shops that needed help must got shut out," Biden said in a campaign video message on Friday. 

The PPP program was designed to allow businesses with under 500 employees to apply for forgivable loans through 5,100 private lenders. Some loans went to large public corporations with less than 500 employees in each of their locations due to a loophole in the law that Congress passed.

Congress also did not require recipients to publicly disclose their forgivable loan so the public would be aware of each company that was granted taxpayer money. To date, companies are self-disclosing their loans.

"More than 40 percent of the initial funding designed to support small businesses didn't get to real small businesses at all. The single largest recipient of small business money was a hotel executive and a major Trump donor. The Trump administration let him exploit the loophole to get $59 million in help. He's only giving it back now because the press found out," Biden said in the video. "And who knows what else we'd find if the Trump administration would stop hiding the full list of businesses who received help. This is your money they're getting."

Biden argued that the Trump administration is "allowing big corporations that take money to lay off their workers, while other big companies are laying off workers, then pay out millions to the shareholders."

He continued, "As hard as it is for Trump to say that if you're a major corporation, you're going to receive taxpayers money, you must first use that – that's what it is supposed to be. You must first use that to take care of your workers. But it turns out, corruption is a feature of this economic agenda, not a bug."

Biden said he's going to layout a detailed economic recovery plan in the coming weeks.


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