Press Releases

Luetkemeyer: Republicans Lead Small Business Committee Inquiry into Yellen’s Failure to Testify

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) along with Vice Ranking Member Roger Williams (R-TX), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), and Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) issued the following statement on the mark-up of the Resolution of Inquiry directed at Treasury Secretary Yellen:

“Since day one, I committed to using every tool at my disposal to conduct robust and effective oversight over the programs within our jurisdiction. Yesterday, I, along with my Republican colleagues, voted to direct Secretary Yellen to hand over all documents related to Treasury’s involvement in the Paycheck Protection Program. I am disheartened that my Democrat colleagues couldn’t take a more definitive stance on the resolution and instead offer cover as Secretary Yellen continues to mock this Committee’s authority. We owe it to the American taxpayers to conduct rigorous oversight on their behalf and ensure our government is transparent and accountable,” said Ranking Member Luetkemeyer.

“Since President Biden was sworn into office, small businesses have been met with dire economic challenges, such as rising inflation, ongoing labor shortages, to persistent supply chain issues,” said Vice Ranking Member Williams. “Yesterday, I introduced an amendment to require the Department of the Treasury to report all the documents and communications made with the Small Business Administration to provide insights on how the Biden Administration plans to deal with these economic headwinds. Unfortunately, committee Democrats’ rejected my amendment and refused to provide transparency into these agencies’ efforts to try to improve the business climate for American small businesses.”

For the last 514 days, Treasury Secretary Yellen has ignored her legal obligation to appear before the House Small Business Committee. The Resolution of Inquiry offered during our markup today by Ranking Member Luetkemeyer is simple. Since Secretary Yellen continues to refuse to come before our committee to testify, we are now seeking documents regarding the Treasury Department’s role in the Paycheck Protection Program to help us inform our work and conduct better oversight of the program.

“It is a dishonor to this Committee and the House as a whole when a cabinet-level official such as Secretary Yellen believes she can ignore her statutory obligation to testify before us. We serve on this Committee, and in the House, on behalf of our constituents and small businesses across America. I am disappointed that, despite Secretary Yellen’s defiance, my Democrat colleagues on the Committee took a stance of neutrality instead of fully holding her accountable. My Republican colleagues and I will continue to conduct rigorous oversight and hold this administration accountable at every turn,” said Rep. Meuser.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, over $1 trillion was appropriated to allow our nation’s small businesses to regain their footing, and it was vital that every dollar go to an American small business. Now as the House Small Business Committee has endeavored to hold these programs accountable for potential fraud, we have been ignored and excluded by President Biden’s Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. This vote to see all documents involved in the Treasury’s distribution of the Paycheck Protection Program is a critical step to identifying and stopping any further fraud, prosecuting the bad actors who took advantage and ensuring it never happens again. Small business owners across the country should expect nothing less than rigorous and transparent oversight,” said Rep. Van Duyne.

Background:

On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at approximately 10:00 a.m. ET, the Committee on Small Business met to markup one Resolution of Inquiry (ROI) relating to the Department of the Treasury’s role within the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

H. Res 1298 directs the Treasury Sectary to provide documents regarding the Department of the Treasury’s role within the PPP.  The PPP was administered in collaboration between the SBA and the Department of the Treasury.  Specifically, the Department of the Treasury, under Section 1109 of the CARES Act, was required to onboard new private sector lenders to deliver PPP loans to small businesses and other eligible entities.  Additionally, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included testimony requirements for the Treasury Secretary on the implementation of COVID-19 relief funds.  As of Wednesday, September 21, 2022, it has been 513 days since Secretary Yellen missed the statutorily mandated deadline to testify before the Committee.  H. Res 1298 directs Secretary Yellen to provide the following:

1. All communications between the Department of the Treasury and the SBA relating to the PPP;

2. All documents and communications relating to the obligation of the Treasury Secretary to testify before the Small Business Committee of the House of Representatives as required by section 321(b) of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (15 U.S.C. 639b(b)); and

3. All documents and communications relating to the role of the Treasury Secretary in administering the PPP. 

Democrat Members of the House Committee on Small Business chose to only allow the resolution to proceed without a recommendation, essentially refusing to allow the Committee to take a definitive position.

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