GOP senator asks Treasury, Fed for virus-aid details

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The head of the Senate panel overseeing Federal Reserve and Treasury Department efforts to boost the U.S. economy urged the agencies to remember their disclosure requirements to two oversight bodies policing how half a trillion dollars is being used.

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, chairman of the banking committee, in a letter released Thursday said he plans to hold a confirmation hearing for Brian Miller, the White House lawyer who President Donald Trump has nominated as Treasury’s special inspector general for pandemic recovery, or SIGPR, “as soon as can be safely done.”

“Confirming the SIGPR nominee and announcing the chair and members of the Congressional Oversight Commission is critical to the setting up and functioning of these important oversight bodies,” Crapo wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

The $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package installed a five-member congressional oversight panel to scrutinize Treasury’s and the Fed’s work mobilizing $500 billion. SIGPR, a separate entity, has a larger oversight reach -- all of Treasury’s loans and loan guarantees, including for airlines.

“Confirming the SIGPR nominee and announcing the chair and members of the Congressional Oversight Commission is critical to the setting up and functioning of these important oversight bodies,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.
“Confirming the SIGPR nominee and announcing the chair and members of the Congressional Oversight Commission is critical to the setting up and functioning of these important oversight bodies,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

So far, only Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has named his choice for the congressional panel, Bharat Ramamurti, who has already begun his work. Each congressional leader gets to appoint one person, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell make an additional joint pick for commissioner.

In his letter, Crapo encouraged the two agencies to have their teams “begin to collect and track the necessary data sets” so they can meet disclosure deadlines laid out in the legislation.

In a separate letter, also addressed to Mnuchin and Powell, the senator requested information about Treasury’s work with the Small Business Administration to dole out $349 billion under the Paycheck Protection Program.

He also requested details about several of the Fed’s lending facilities, including loans for municipalities and corporate credit asset backed securities.

This story and its headline have been updated from the original version.

Bloomberg News