President Trump Saturday signed into law a bill extending the Paycheck Protection Program—an emergency federal loan facility for small businesses struggling because of the pandemic—for another five weeks until August 8, buying Congress time to figure out what the next round of aid for small businesses will look like when it reconvenes later this month to hash out more stimulus legislation.
The PPP was originally slated to close down last Tuesday.
The Senate unexpectedly approved the new legislation by unanimous consent on Tuesday evening, and the House followed suit on Wednesday.
Some $130 billion in loan money allocated to the $670 billion program remains unspent.
When Congress returns from its July 4th holiday recess, it must figure out how to allocate the remaining money and determine the next steps for federal aid to small businesses.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the next round of small business aid will need to be “more targeted” to the specific industries that are struggling the most, like hotels and restaurants.
Another popular Democratic proposal would allow businesses with fewer than 100 employees to take out a second PPP loan from the remaining funds.
4.8 million. As of June 27, that’s how many PPP loans had been approved. All in, those loans were worth nearly $520 billion.
The PPP was created as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump at the end of March. The $350 billion program provided forgivable loans to cover payroll and overhead expenses for cash-strapped businesses to keep them from folding during the worst of the economic slowdown. After an initial crush of applications and a chaotic rollout period, the PPP ran out of money in just two weeks, prompting Congress to pass more legislation to re-up the facility with another $310 billion.
This article was written by Sarah Hansen for Forbes.com