Plan Could Fund Accountability Panel for Aid: Congress Update

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(Bloomberg) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning another round of procedural votes on Monday in an attempt to advance a bipartisan bill worth as much as $2 trillion to help soften the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the latest developments:

Plan Could Fund Accountability Panel for Aid (11:20 a.m.)

There is now funding in the stimulus plan to operate an accountability board for the $500 billion bailout fund, Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said on Bloomberg TV Monday.

A demand for greater oversight of the fund to assist companies and state and local governments has been a key sticking point for Democrats. Coons said the details were still being worked out and put into the legislation.“I don’t see that there is yet final agreement on the language of what is the scope of that accountability board,” he said.

Coons said the most recent draft version he saw still granted the Treasury secretary “very broad discretion.” For example, he said, if a company takes a multibillion-dollar loan and simply uses it for bailouts and executive compensation, there is “no clear mechanism” for that to be resolved.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a separate Bloomberg Television Interview that she wants an oversight panel with “real teeth” to monitor that the money is spent according to the law and according to the promises that companies made when they took the funds.

Coons, Barrasso Both Say Senate Will Make a Deal (8:02 a.m.)

U.S. senators in both political parties expressed confidence the Senate will approve a broad economic stimulus measure to address the coronavirus crisis later Monday, despite Sunday’s failed procedural vote on a Senate GOP measure that would have begun debate while talks on a bipartisan replacement bill continued.

Speaking in separate TV appearances, Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said they expect lawmakers in both parties will resolve differences and advance legislation to the House.

“Relief is on the way,” Barrasso said on Fox Business. “We want to get this passed today.”

Coons said both parties were able to agree easily on major parts of the bill, including $350 billion in aid for smaller businesses. Outstanding disputes, including how many strings should be attached for airlines and other big businesses getting help, can be resolved, he said.

“I think we will get this done,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” He added that “there is a sense of urgency.”

Mnuchin, Schumer Keep Negotiating on Bill (6 a.m.)

Negotiations continued Sunday night between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer after Democrats blocked the economic stimulus measure in a Senate procedural vote.

McConnell has been aiming for a final Senate vote Monday, but leaders of both parties continue to differ on key sections, including a $500 billion chunk that could be used to help corporations, including airlines, or state and local governments.

Catch Up on Washington’s Virus Response

  • Democrats Block Senate Economic Stimulus Bill as Talks Falter
  • Trump, Congressional Leaders Say Deal on Virus Stimulus Close
  • Mnuchin Sees Emergency Aid Package on Track for Monday Passage
  • House Democrats Want Trump Team’s Answers on Supply Shortages
  • Trump Pushes an Unproven Coronavirus Drug, and Patients Stock Up
  • Fed Going All In to Save Economy. Here’s What Could Come Next

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