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Fed bailout program launches as Congress weighs new aid for fossil fuels, and other news from around the web

Daily news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from June 17, 2020.

Fed adapts as Congress urges loans to riskier companies

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's dramatic bid to protect private companies from the fallout of the coronavirus is finally underway, but the central bank is nervous about managing the long-term risk.

A key program opened registration on Monday for banks who want to participate and the Fed urged them to start making loans “immediately.”

At Powell's earlier Senate appearance, both Republicans and Democrats urged him to take risks with the money they appropriated.

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Lawmakers weigh new forms of aid for fossil fuels

Lawmakers in both chambers are looking for ways to assist the energy industry as the economic fallout hits fossil fuels and renewables alike.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking to future stimulus bills as a way to boost the industry, even though earlier efforts for measures preferred by each party were not included.

The measures would add to existing support for fossil fuels, including the Federal Reserve Board's expansion of emergency loan programs and the rollback of an EPA requirement that businesses monitor their pollution.

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Absent from stimulus packages: overhauling energy, climate programs

Around the world leaders see opportunity in the global pandemic to address the other big problem humanity faces: climate change.

The United Nations and International Energy Agency suggest all nations consider climate when drafting stimulus plans. The European Union is developing a plan that does that.

But here in the United States, climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions have not been a part of the $3 trillion in relief packages passed so far. That's despite the country's history of passing big energy programs to boost the economy.

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Green future needs stimulus to spur faster growth in renewables

Governments around the world are key to spurring renewables growth in laggard sectors like heating and transport.

While power generation from renewable sources had a record year in 2019, the growth of clean energy in several sectors was slower, according to a report by REN21. Plans to help economies rebound from the coronavirus pandemic could speed up the development of new technologies key to hitting emissions targets.

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Opinion: Covid-19 bailouts are no time for Treasury secrecy

The size and complexity of the new COVID bailout dwarfs our previous experiences with proper bailout checks and balances. With vast bailout sums already out the door, we need to play urgent catch-up to safeguard the integrity of our economic system and keep our financial overseers accountable.

The Fed seems to have carte blanche to ensure systemic solvency wherever it sees the need. Between Congress and the Federal Reserve, the government has committed more than $6 trillion to sustain the U.S. economy, an astounding price tag that surpasses all economic stimulus funding since the Great Depression. This expanded authority raises myriad red flags, including regarding the Fed’s ability to create, track and enforce the rules on where the unprecedented fiscal and monetary support lands.

This is no moment for experimental or ad hoc oversight of those with unelected power.

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