By Ruth Moreno
The Biden administration has continuously dodged questions on the unlawful participation of Planned Parenthood in the paycheck protection program (PPP), and Wednesday's Senate Small Business Committee hearing provided further evidence of the administration's unwillingness to give a straight answer regarding where taxpayer dollars are going amidst the pandemic. Although two officials were required to testify at the hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen did not appear at all, and Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman refused to answer even the simplest questions from Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Senator Paul joined FRC's own Tony Perkins Wednesday on "Washington Watch" to discuss the hearing, which was only the most recent episode in a saga going back months. Senator Paul has repeatedly pressed Guzman on Planned Parenthood's participation in the PPP due to the fact that Planned Parenthood, as the nation's largest abortion provider with 16,000 workers across its many affiliates, is anything but a small business.
Observing the obvious, the Trump administration's Small Business Administration (SBA) ruled that Planned Parenthood was ineligible to receive PPP funds under the affiliation rules and was in the process of requesting back some of the nearly $80 million loaned out to Planned Parenthood. Not only has the Biden administration's SBA allowed those funds to flow back to Planned Parenthood, it has also given $17.6 million more -- and Guzman refused to explain why.
Senator Paul asked Guzman at the hearing if the SBA had changed its policies regarding affiliates in such a way that made Planned Parenthood's participation in the PPP lawful. Guzman told him it had not, begging Senator Paul's next question: "which is it?"
As Senator Paul told Guzman at the hearing, it was illegal. Six months ago, Guzman sent a note from the Small Business Administration saying it was illegal and then at yesterday's hearing, she said she would give the senate no information.
Senator Paul told Tony on Washington Watch that he became quite blunt with Guzman and still received no answers:
"I directly said to her, are you above Congress or do you get to make your own decisions on what you're going to reveal? And she just wouldn't reveal anything."
Senator Paul said he might try to subpoena Guzman due to her failure to comply with the law and answer the questions of sitting members of Congress. Although Senator Paul said he was confident he could get Republican committee members on board with subpoenaing the Small Business Administration, he would also need the support of a Democrat as well, which always complicates matters. He hopes, however, that Guzman will eventually give some more information to the committee voluntarily before a subpoena becomes necessary.
But the first few months of the current administration's time in office casts doubt on the senator's hope. Both Senator Paul and Tony agreed that many members of the Biden administration seem to think it is acceptable for them, and them alone, to disregard the rules, policies, and procedures governing the United States' elected officials and bureaucrats.
"It's like they're above the law," Tony said. "Who is going to hold these individuals accountable?"
Of course, it is practically written into the job descriptions of bureaucrats that they are not to be held accountable. Unelected by the American people, it is all too easy for them to play by their own rules, even when it comes to important matters concerning what the federal government is doing with the money it takes from hard-working American citizens.
"This is the U.S. taxpayer money being extracted from good Christian people who don't like abortion. And we're being told we have to fund it. There are no hard protections in this money," Senator Paul said.
He is confident, though, that the administration's illegal funding of Planned Parenthood in the form of PPP funds can and will be exposed.
"This is something that we should fight, and we can fight to win," Senator Paul said.