(Photo: Mike Scarcella/ALM)
The House gave final last-minute congressional approval Wednesday to extending the popular Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses until Aug. 8, hours after the deadline for applications lapsed with more than $130 billion still available.
The Senate had passed the extension Tuesday, shortly before the Small Business Administration was to stop accepting new loan applications at 11:59 p.m. Both chambers used expedited procedures to send the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The PPP program was enacted in March as part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. The extension measure is S. 4116.
The $669 billion program approved more than 4.8 million loans totaling $520.6 billion by Tuesday night, the SBA said. The $134.5 billion that remained as of Saturday would eventually have been returned to the Treasury if Congress didn’t extend the program.
Even as lawmakers agreed to extend the current program, members of both parties were demanding more detailed information on how the funds have been spent so far.
Others are proposing modifications or calling for new initiatives to help companies that are hardest hit by the pandemic or excluded from PPP.
Small Business Issues
Small business advocates said they expect those ideas to be part of negotiations on a broader economic stimulus bill later in July.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a House committee Tuesday that the Trump administration supports enacting additional stimulus legislation by the end of July. He said he’s had discussions with the Senate about revising PPP to help restaurants, hotels and other hard-hit businesses.
This week’s scramble to extend the program came as Congress prepares to leave on a two-week recess amid a worsening economic outlook because of a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said Wednesday that bipartisan negotiators are close to a deal on a revival of the paycheck protection program.