A longtime aide to one of the senate’s fiercest critics of American capitalism will be on the panel to oversee a $500 billion loan fund intended to help America’s businesses recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday announced he was appointing Bharat Ramamurti, who had worked for Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts before joining her ill-fated presidential campaign, to serve on the panel, according to the Washington Examiner.
Ramamurti was deputy policy director for economic policy in Warren’s campaign and was the senator’s senior counsel on banking and economic policy.
“Mr. Ramamurti brings a wealth of oversight experience and expertise,” Schumer said.
Ramamurti is the first person to be appointed to the panel.
The oversight panel was included in the legislation that created the $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package Congress passed last month.
The leaders of the majority and minority in each branch of Congress get to name one person each. The fifth individual will be chosen jointly by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Pelosi said she and McConnell have begun discussing who might fill that spot, according to The Hill.
“I spoke to Mitch about that because he and I have to agree on who that fifth person is. And we set sort of our criteria as to how that would be. He gave me a name, not a name but an impression about who he might do for his one. So we’ve had those conversations,” she said.
The panel will report on how the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve administer the funds. It is separate from the House panel that Pelosi plans to create to provide Democrat-led oversight of the program.
Warren was a critic of how the bailout for businesses was structured.
“You can’t just take $450 billion, hand it over to the secretary of treasury and, say, hand it out to your closest friends on a no-strings-attached basis. No, there has to be strings,” she told NPR in a March interview.