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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the Trump administration never promised to release the names of businesses that received forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans as a part of the CARES Act.

Why it matters: U.S. taxpayers have provided hundreds of millions of tax dollars to bail out small businesses impacted by economic disruption set off by the coronavirus pandemic, but they may never know where exactly the money went ⁠and how well the program worked, Axios' Dan Primack reports.

Between the lines: Historically, business recipients of the Small Business Administration's Section 7(a) loans, which PPP was structured under, have had their names and loan amounts publicly disclosed on an annual basis.

  • The PPP loan application also warns borrowers that their company names, loan amounts, and other information are public records “that will be automatically released," according to TIME. And in April, the SBA told news organizations that it intended to post "individual loan data" after the loan process had been completed.
  • But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told a Senate hearing last week that he's concerned the data would include "proprietary information," and the SBA has dropped its pledges of “loan specific” transparency.

The big picture: As part of calls for oversight of the bailout funds, Mnuchin said in April that the Small Business Administration will do a "full review" of any loan that exceeds $2 million after it became known that large corporations and organizations had received PPP loans.

  • In April, the House of Representatives created a select committee to oversee the how the Trump administration used trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief allocated by Congress.
  • The Council of the Inspectors General also established a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion CARES Act, but President Trump removed the original inspector general that the committee chose as its leader.

What they're saying: "In terms of those [companies] that shouldn't have qualified, a lot of them have returned the money," Kudlow said. "But I think when Treasury Secretary Mnuchin talk about transparency, he talked about the transparency of the process of making the evaluation for the loan and then the distribution."

  • "As far as naming each and every company, I don't think that promise was ever made, and I don't think it's necessary. I think what is necessary is to make sure that the legalities were observed, that the process of credit and leading was observed and that people that can qualify will in fact get it."

Go deeper: Treasury leans against naming small businesses that received PPP loans

Go deeper

Updated Sep 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Oversight Committee subpoenas Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Aug. 24. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Pool

The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Wednesday for records related to recent operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service and information about mail delivery delays, AP reports.

Why it matters: Democratic lawmakers have sounded the alarm in recent weeks over cost-cutting measures and modifications to mail-processing practices that they fear could delay election mail, disenfranchise voters and delay election results.

Biden to sign voting rights order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Pope Francis waving as he arrives near the ruins of the Syriac Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception (al-Tahira-l-Kubra), in the old city of Iraq's northern Mosul on March 7. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting areas of northern Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

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