WASHINGTON ― The Senate’s $2 trillion package aimed at reducing the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic appears to ban businesses controlled by President Donald Trump and his family from receiving taxpayer assistance.
A provision in the bill prohibits businesses controlled by the president, vice president, members of Congress, and heads of executive departments from receiving loans or investments from U.S. Treasury programs. The prohibition also applies to their children, spouses, and in-laws, according to a summary from the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The measure was added in the portion of the bill aimed at helping distressed industries with at least $450 billion in loans. The massive fund would be controlled by the Treasury Department and could include bailouts to hotels, casinos, cruise lines, and the oil and gas industry. Since earlier drafts of the legislation included virtually no restrictions on how the money would be distributed, Democrats feared it would allow properties owned directly by Trump or his family to receive bailouts.
Asked about the matter on Sunday, Trump refused to say if he would bar his own company from receiving stimulus money to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve learned, let’s just see what happens,” the president told reporters at the White House when asked about the Trump Organization. “Because we have to save some of these great companies.”
Prior to assuming office, Trump announced he was leaving “total control” of his business to his children ― Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr. ― who would manage what he called a “blind trust.” The Trump Organization lists 11 hotel properties on its website.
The Senate bill also includes some oversight over the $450 billion fund aimed at propping up struggling industries. Under the terms of the deal reached on Wednesday, an independent inspector general and a congressional oversight board will be in charge of scrutinizing the lending provided to big businesses ― similar to what was done for the 2008 Wall Street bailout a decade ago.
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