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Senator Hassan Questions Treasury Secretary Nominee on Expanding R&D Tax Credit, Raising Awareness of Additional Relief for Small Businesses, and Combating Terrorist Financing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today participated in a Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing for President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be Secretary for the Department of Treasury, Dr. Janet Yellen. The Senator questioned Dr. Yellen about a number of economic priorities, including the importance of expanding the Research and Development (R&D) tax credit for startups, raising awareness about COVID-19 relief available to small businesses, and combating terrorist financing.


To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here


Expanding the R+D Tax Credit


Senator Hassan began her questioning by discussing the importance of expanding the R&D tax credit for startups and small businesses.


“As we discussed when we met earlier this month, Dr. Yellen, I am working on a bipartisan effort with Senator Young to expand the research and development tax credit for small businesses,” Senator Hassan said. “New businesses and innovative startups are a major source of job creation, which is going to be key to rebuilding our economy after we contain the virus.”


Dr. Yellen agreed, stating, “Certainly, I look forward to working with you, this is a very important matter. R&D is essential to innovation and to the growth of our economy, it’s made a huge contribution. And I think you’re absolutely right that new businesses and innovative businesses have driven job creation, so finding ways to support R&D investments, and including by smaller, new businesses, is something I would look forward to working with you on.”


Raising Awareness about Additional Relief for Small Businesses


Senator Hassan went on to raise concerns that small businesses are unaware that they can received upfront payments to help keep workers on payroll and cover employee health care costs through the Employee Retention Tax Credit. The latest economic relief package includes bipartisan legislation that Senator Hassan introduced with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to allow small businesses to both participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and to claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit.


Senator Hassan called on Dr. Yellen and the Treasury Department to increase awareness of the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help small businesses quickly and effectively receive the full range of economic relief available to them during this public health and economic crisis. Dr. Yellen committed to Senator Hassan that if confirmed, she would reach out to the Internal Revenue Service as well as nonprofits and associations, such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses, to help promote awareness.  


Combating Terrorist Financing


Senator Hassan also discussed the Treasury’s role in combating emerging forms of terrorist financing: “The bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act passed earlier this month and included a provision – led by Senator Warner – that established an advisory group with Treasury to counter new ways that terrorists use emerging financial technology. One area of growing concern, for example, is the potential for terrorists and criminals to use cryptocurrency to finance their activities.”


Dr. Yellen said that the government needs to examine ways to disrupt terrorist financing, particularly for cryptocurrency.