The Senate on Thursday voted 92-7 to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans for payroll and overhead expenses to help see struggling small businesses through the pandemic.
The bill would extend the PPP application deadline by two months, from March 31 to May 31. It would also give the Small Business Administration until June 30 (an extra 30 days) to process backlogged applications for PPP loans.
The House voted 415-3 to approve the extension last week.
8.2 million is how many small businesses have received PPP loans, according to Small Business Administration data as of March 21. Those loans are worth a cumulative $718 billion.
“These loans have saved small businesses throughout our nation,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said on the Senate floor on Wednesday. “They would not be here today but for this program.”
The PPP’s first round of funding authorized by the CARES Act last March was depleted in just two weeks. Congress immediately followed the CARES Act with a $484 billion bill to replenish the PPP, which has now been extended or re-funded by Congress several times.
The extension bill will now be sent to President Biden’s desk for signature.