Eight members of Congress are calling on the Small Business Administration to investigate whether the operator of a luxury Santa Monica hotel and dozens of other properties properly spent tens of millions of dollars in pandemic relief funding.



a group of people that are talking on a cell phone: A group prays during an August demonstration supporting Margarita Santos, center, who was fired from her housekeeping job at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot hotel. The hotel's operator, Columbia Sussex, received tens of millions of dollars in PPP loans. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
A group prays during an August demonstration supporting Margarita Santos, center, who was fired from her housekeeping job at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot hotel. The hotel’s operator, Columbia Sussex, received tens of millions of dollars in PPP loans. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and seven of her Democratic colleagues issued a letter Tuesday urging the SBA to investigate how a hotel conglomerate that owns or operates at least 50 hotels spent the money it received — as much as $63 million — from the Paycheck Protection Program.

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The group of lawmakers said in the letter that

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(Reuters) – Sylvia Padilla spent last Thursday checking food pantries in Lubbock, Texas for groceries to feed herself, her daughter and three-year-old grandson.

Sylvia Padilla poses for a photo outside St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock, Texas, U.S. on October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Brad Brooks

Some places were closed, others had nothing available. Outside the shuttered St. John’s United Methodist Church, Padilla, 50, recounted her struggle to survive during the economic disaster that the novel coronavirus pandemic had dumped upon her, choking words out through tears of fear and frustration.

“This is like a nightmare I can’t wake up from,” Padilla said, resting her face in her hands. “It really feels like a nightmare, but it’s our reality.”

Like many Americans, Padilla is barely getting by and says she desperately needs government help. She received a $1,200 check in April from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed

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Trump administration officials are urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would repurpose unused funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established to boost struggling businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, as negotiations on another stimulus package continue.



Steven Mnuchin wearing a suit and tie: Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2020


© Toni L. Sandys/Reuters
Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2020

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” read a Sunday letter to members of Congress from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people.”

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the administration’s latest offer of $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which included $300 billion

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Health care is one of the most consequential issues facing Americans, especially today. Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. is running for Congress, so voters deserve to know his positions on this critical topic. However, his views are conspicuously absent from his campaign website.

Unfortunately, Kean’s voting record during his years in the Legislature reveals he would not protect the health of New Jerseyans in Washington. He is running for the Seventh District seat against incumbent Democrat Tom Malinowski.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that nearly 8 percent of New Jersey residents are uninsured, Kean voted against a bill to increase access to affordable health insurance through a small tax assessment on premiums of larger plans.

Kean also opposed creation of the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange that can offer less expensive insurance to residents than the national Obamacare exchange. He has opposed coverage of family planning services.

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Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari is urging Congress to be “aggressive” with economic assistance in order to boost the United States’ recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m seeing, especially on the small business front, I mean, some sectors of the economy are doing fine. If you are a white-collar worker like I am … you’re able to work from home. You’re really not affected by this pandemic,” Kashkari told CBS’ Face the Nation. “But there are many sectors of the economy that are still being devastated. The travel and tourism industries, the frontline service industries, restaurants, and that’s where you’re seeing big job losses and bankruptcies. And this is going to continue to spiral and continue to bleed on.”

Kashkari said that there are roughly 11 million Americans who are still struggling to pay their bills and put food

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Oct. 11 (UPI) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday sent a letter to Congress calling for the release of unused Paycheck Protection Program funds amid ongoing talks on an additional round of COVID-19 stimulus.

Mnuchin and Meadows urged lawmakers to release the $134 billion in loans provided to small businesses to maintain operations and retain employees included in the $2 trillion CARES Act passed in March, while also criticizing Congress — particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer — for their “all-or-nothing” approach to negotiating additional stimulus.

“The House has passed two separate partisan bills instead of compromising with us on bipartisan legislation like we have done in the past,” they wrote. “We will continue to try to work with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer. It is not just about the top-line number but also about legislation

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  • The House antitrust committee released a 449-page report Tuesday, outlining its investigation into potential anti-competitive practices by Big Tech companies including Amazon and Google.
  • The report raised concerns over acquisitions by Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, including Google Cloud’s acquisition of the data analytics company Looker that closed earlier this year.
  • These deals help cloud providers “solidify and expand their dominance” and eliminate rivals, the report said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Congress has concerns about the acquisition strategies of Google and Amazon’s cloud platforms, according to a 449-page report released Tuesday by the House antitrust subcommittee, which accuses the firms of buying companies to eliminate rivals or lock customers into their clouds.  

The report described “serial acquisitions” from the platforms, “any one of which may seem insignificant but which collectively serve to solidify and expand their dominance.”

Google Cloud has acquired companies like Orbitera, Cask, Velostrata,

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Federal Reserve officials expressed concern at their most recent meeting that the US economic recovery could falter if Congress fails to approve another round of pandemic relief.

Minutes of the meeting showed that officials believe the economy was growing faster than expected. But they based their forecasts on expectations that Democrats and Republicans would resolve their differences and provide more economic aid, including expanded unemployment benefits and help for small businesses.

The minutes said that “most forecasters were assuming that an additional pandemic-related fiscal package would be approved this year, and noted that, absent a new package, growth could decelerate at a faster-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter.”

The prospects for a new package being passed before the Nov. 3 elections, however, have significantly diminished with President Trump’s decision to end negotiations with Democrats. Trump has instead proposed that Democrats approve individual rescue items, such as money for ailing airlines

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The meeting minutes underscore how Fed leaders view another stimulus package — one that reaches households, businesses and local governments still on the brink — as essential to a strong and stable recovery.

At the meeting, Fed leaders updated their estimates on unemployment in the coming years to reflect a sense of optimism that people were returning to work faster than expected. But in many cases those projections factored in some measure of more fiscal aid, the prospects of which were thrown into chaos Tuesday after Trump abruptly called off negotiations before then continuing to push for more talks on narrower targeted aid.

“If future fiscal support was significantly smaller or arrived significantly later than they expected, the pace of the recovery could be slower than anticipated,” according to the Fed minutes.

Fed policymakers also warned that, while the Cares Act was crucial for providing benefits to millions of families,

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Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Getty


© Getty
Getty

  • President Donald Trump appeared to change course Tuesday and called on Congress to pass standalone coronavirus spending bills — hours after ending negotiations with Democrats for comprehensive relief legislation.
  • He urged lawmakers to approve measures for $1,200 relief payments, small-business aid, and direct assistance to prevent airline layoffs.
  • He said he would immediately sign such bills, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats have rejected previous Republican attempts to pass standalone bills.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Only hours after unexpectedly ending negotiations on another federal coronavirus rescue package, President Donald Trump on Tuesday night urged Congress to pass standalone bills on direct payments and assistance to airlines and small businesses — all measures that would most likely have been included in the larger piece of legislation that was being negotiated between the White House and Democrats.

Major US airlines are moving to layoff

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