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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With less than 24 hours until Election Day, there's one truth that applies to every federal elected official running for re-election, from President Trump to the furthest backbencher in Congress: They failed to produce the economic stimulus that almost everyone agrees is needed, including a second wave of PPP loans.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are rising, including in areas that weren't hard hit earlier. Many small businesses and nonprofits have failed since negotiations began in earnest just before Labor Day, and more will fail as politicians sort through the election debris. This didn't need to happen.

Meanwhile, there is new scrutiny on certain businesses that received the first round of PPP loans, as first alerted to to me via an email from K&L Gates' Rick Giovannelli and Mary Burke Baker.

  • Borrowers of $2 million or more soon will be asked by the SBA to complete a new form that is expected to ask about private equity/venture capital ownership, plus information about quarterly revenue and specific COVID business impacts.
  • In other words, SBA is interested not only in business conditions at the time of PPP application, but also at what happened after loans were disbursed — including such possible events as dividends and debt prepayment.
  • Plus, SBA may ask whether a company had employees or owners with annual comp of $250,000 or more. Per Giovannelli: "This question is not supported by the CARES Act... and may be be based on some sort of assumption that a borrower who could afford to pay such highly compensated personnel such amounts may not have 'needed' the loans. It could signal that forgiveness may be especially challenging for law firms and other professional service firms."

Between the lines: This raises new questions about how SBA and DOJ will determine "good faith," and also if there's potential liability issues for company owners. It also could set some new guardrails for a second round of PPP, were D.C. to get its act together, although expectations are that it would come with lower loan ceilings.

What to watch: How quickly winners are determined, both for president and for Congress, because stimulus talks won't unstick until everyone knows the new math.

Go deeper

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.
14 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.