Senate approves two-month extension of application deadline for Paycheck Protection Program

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to extend the application window for the Paycheck Protection Program by two months ahead of a March 31 deadline.

The Small Business Administration would then have an additional month after the new May 31 deadline to process the outstanding loan applications.

The Senate signed off on a House-passed measure, so it now heads to President Biden’s desk.

The popular loan program, which started under the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package from March 2020, provides low-interest loans to businesses that are forgiven as long as a certain percentage of the funds are used for payroll expenses.

As of March 21, there have been more than 8.2 million loans approved collectively totaling more than $718 billion.

Since the SBA reopened the application process in January, about $196 billion of a newly available $284 billion was spoken for.

Business and consumer banking groups had pushed for an extension, saying new applicants were still running into error codes and crosschecks.

Mr. Biden announced tweaks to the program last month in an effort to get the aid to those who might have missed out last year. Those changes included a two-week window where only companies with fewer than 20 employees were allowed to apply.

Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package included an additional $7.25 billion in funding for PPP and opened it up to additional non-profit groups.

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