LISTEN: PAINE in the Morning — News Scoops & Analysis for Wednesday 4.22.20


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Here are the largest public companies taking payroll loans meant for small businesses –Hundreds of millions of dollars of Paycheck Protection Program emergency funding has been claimed by large, publicly traded companies, new research published by Morgan Stanley shows.

In fact, the U.S. government has allocated at least $243.4 million of the total $349 billion to publicly traded companies, the firm said. – READ MORE

Most Small Firms Report Not Yet Getting Money From Virus Funds – Most small businesses that applied for two government coronavirus relief programs haven’t received any money yet, with most still planning to apply when funds ran out last week, a new survey shows.

Only about 20% of small businesses that applied for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, had money deposited in their account as of April 17, according to a survey that the National Federation of Independent Business conducted of its members. Few members received funds under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan initiative, or EIDL, a virus aid program that’s separate from PPP, the survey showed. – READ MORE

Georgia, Tennessee, SC announce plans to reopen some businesses, wind down coronavirus stay-at-home orders – The governors of Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina on Monday afternoon announced new plans to bring their states’ economies closer to full force amid signs the coronavirus outbreak is slowing.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said certain businesses, including gyms and hair salons, can reopen beginning this Friday. Meanwhile, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee confirmed his state’s stay-at-home order, previously extended to April 30, will end that day. And, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said businesses previously deemed nonessential — department stores, flea markets, florists, bookstores and music shops — could reopen their doors. – READ MORE

Barr Reveals Likely Trump Administration Legal Playbook to ‘Jawbone’ the States into Reopening for Business – In a broad-ranging phone-in interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr described several important legal theories about how the federal government could make life very difficult for states which refuse to open after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Barr’s tone was mostly measured; he admitted several times that certain areas of the country should probably remain closed for business because they are hot spots for the novel coronavirus. But Barr went on to explain several legal rationales for federal interference with governors or local officials who fail to address civil liberties concerns or who frustrate the intent of what Barr called the “commonsensical” plan of President Donald Trump to reopen the country. – READ MORE

Iowa Sends National Guard Troops to Defend Meat Plants From Virus – Hundreds of National Guard personnel are being activated in Iowa as coronavirus sweeps through meat-processing plants in a state that accounts for about a third of U.S. pork supply.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said 250 National Guard members have been moved to full-time federal duty status and could help with testing and contact tracing for workers at plants operated by Tyson Foods Inc. and National Beef Packing Co. – READ MORE

Minnesota Pork Plant Shuts Down After Outbreak Among Workers – JBS SA, the world’s top meat company, will shutter its pork processing facility in Minnesota following an outbreak of coronavirus, adding to concerns that slaughterhouse logjams will tighten meat supplies for consumers.

The Worthington, Minnesota, facility accounts for about 5% of U.S. capacity. It will wind down operations over two days to ensure existing product in the facility can be used to support the food supply, the company said Monday in a statement. The move comes after seven workers tested positive for the virus and officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday the number will likely rise. No date was given for a reopening. – READ MORE

Poll: Americans sour on China amid pandemic, broader rivalry – Americans are increasingly hostile to China as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. and global economies and after three years of Trump administration antagonism toward the country, according to a nationwide poll released on Tuesday.

The poll, conducted last month by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that two-thirds of those surveyed, or 66%, had an unfavorable view of China. That’s the most since the center first asked the question 15 years ago and a significant jump of 20 percentage points since President Donald Trump entered the White House in 2017. The results suggest that Americans are receptive to the Trump administration’s broad antagonism toward China, which has increased in recent weeks over criticism of Beijing’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. – READ MORE

Coronavirus: US university stops using Chinese testing kits after some found to be contaminated –  The University of Washington School of Medicine went to extraordinary lengths to airlift tens of thousands of Covid-19 testing kits from China during a nationwide shortage of sampling swabs and the liquid that preserves specimens for diagnostic testing.

In short: a Seattle importer used a business associate in China, who had a connection to a doctor in the province hardest hit by the disease, to secure testing kits from a Shanghai factory and then have them flown stateside as soon as possible on an Amazon-chartered plane. UW Medicine allocated US$125,000 to purchase the kits. – READ MORE

Model shows New York could begin lifting coronavirus restrictions in June – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut may be able to begin safely lifting coronavirus lockdowns as early as June, according to new projections.

The tri-state area has begun a downward trend in COVID-19 fatalities that indicates the region could start relaxing social distancing on June 1, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. – READ MORE

Proposed: $2,000 Monthly Stimulus Checks And Canceled Rent And Mortgage Payments For 1 Year – The CARES Act provided a lifeline for taxpayers and small businesses. But as a one-time cash payment, many fear that it didn’t do enough to support taxpayers in one of our country’s greatest times of need. Especially in light of the fact that many people still have not received their stimulus checks.

To address this, members of Congress have made two separate proposals, one that would provide Americans over the age of 16 with a $2,000 monthly check for up to 12 months, and one that would cancel rent and mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus emergency. – READ MORE

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