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The Senate passed repairs for the COVID-19 payroll loan program



The Senate passed repairs for the COVID-19 payroll loan program

Following complaints from business groups about changing regulations and confusing guidelines, the Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved an improvement to the popular Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to help small businesses survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day, the US Chamber of Commerce urged the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee – tasked with overseeing trillions of taxpayer dollars provided by Congress to prop up the economy – to encourage greater clarity and consistency in the program. Others warn that some business owners worry that they might not meet the conditions under the revised regulations so that their loans are forgiven, as originally promised.

The Chamber Officer pointed out that the Ministry of Finance had changed the rules and guidelines governing loans repeatedly over the past eight weeks.

“Businesses, individuals and state and local governments must be held accountable for complying with rules and guidelines as they existed at the time of their actions, not as they were later modified,” said Neil Bradley, chief chamber policy officer.

Under the repairs of the new Senate, which had previously been passed by the House of Representatives, many of the concerns of business owners will be addressed. This will give businesses up to 24 weeks to spend money before having to return it. Previous regulations written by the Treasury and the Small Business Administration gave them only eight weeks to spend money, or were required to repay loans.

Improvements also relaxed the requirement that 75% of the loan be used for payroll, lowering the threshold to 60%.

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The next bill was given to President Trump to be signed.

More than two months after it was created to monitor the more than $ 2 trillion flowing into the economy due to the CARES Act, the committee held its first public organizing meeting Wednesday to get feedback from state and local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, health experts and watchdog groups government.

Bradley urged the committee to remember when overseeing that businesses, “must make decisions in an uncertain and ambiguous environment that is equally uncertain” as the government does, and must move quickly to participate in the newly created loan program without fully knowing what the regulations will be and how much they might be affected by economic closure.

Public anger that several large publicly traded companies received loans worth tens of millions of dollars prompted the Ministry of Finance to write new rules and issue warnings that loans of more than $ 2 million would be audited to determine whether companies really needed loans, and audits could potentially generate demands criminal.

Tony Wilkinson, president of National Assn. Guaranteed Government Lenders, pleading with the committee to intervene on popular PPP loans, said in his 30-year career he saw nothing like the chaotic launch of the loan program by the Ministry of Finance and Small Business Administration.

The guidelines of the agencies are “fragmented” and “let the lenders look for themselves” in developing the application process, and in some cases contrary to what is explicitly described by Congress as a parameter for loans, Wilkinson said.

“Is it any wonder why borrowers and lenders have questioned whether Treasury has made everyone fail?” Wilkinson said. “And you wonder why lenders are so worried about their PPP participation? And you wonder why borrowers of all sizes have returned their loans for fear of their own government? “

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The initial application rush resulted in the Small Business Administration processing more than one million loans worth a combined $ 350 billion in just 14 days. Interest in the second round of aid – $ 310 billion, which was quickly passed by Congress in April – has diminished, with $ 120 billion still not allocated. As of May 30, 4.4 million loans had been made between the two program rounds for a total of $ 510.2 billion.

Loans should be forgiven if the business retains its staff for eight weeks. But guidelines for asking for forgiven loans were not issued until weeks after many businesses took out loans. Recipient and Inspector General of Small Business Administration Mike Ware has sounded an alarm on the requirement that 75% of the loan go to payroll costs, rather than rent or other overhead costs, and that the total amount must be spent within eight weeks. In a report was released May 8, Ware warned that thousands of loan recipients would not be able to meet that standard, which was not required by Congress under the CARES Act.

Wilkinson told me about a small business that helped veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who received a $ 27,000 loan and worried that it might not be eligible for loan forgiveness. Business owners, who face the possibility of closure and are still required to repay loans, call the program “the devil knocked on the door when we went down, and unfortunately we let it in,” Wilkinson said.

Tim Delaney, president of the National Board of Nonprofits, also expressed disappointment at the “moving destination posts” that govern loans.

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“What will we fight? Because when we sign documents on a certain day, that’s what should be valid, contrary to these moving standards, “Delaney said.

The Committee has begun to increase its oversight activities, but it still lacks a leader. It had chosen acting Department of Defense Inspector General Glenn Fine to take over, but he became ineligible to serve when President Trump nominated a permanent replacement.

The Justice Department IG Michael E. Horowitz, in charge of electing leaders, holds positions in acting capacity. A Horowitz spokesman has not responded to repeated questions about when a new seat will be chosen.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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