United States President Joe Biden signed a bill on March 30 extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PPP Extension Act of 2021 extends the deadline for small businesses to apply for a PPP loan from March 31 to May 31.
The bill also extends the authorization of loans to June 30, giving the Small Business Administration (SBA) additional time to process the loan applications.
“We’re pushing lenders to raise their game and provide more help to small businesses,” Biden said.
“Without somebody signing this bill today, there are hundreds of thousands of people who could lose their jobs, and small and family businesses that might close forever. And, as you know, small business is the backbone of our economy, representing almost 50 percent of all the employees in America,” Biden further said.
Biden described the bill as a “bipartisan accomplishment” and thanked a group of bipartisan members of Congress for their work in helping the bill pass through Congress.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 415 to 3, then Senate approved it by a vote of 92 to 7 last March 25.
According to SBA data, the program has approved over 8.7 million loans as of March 28, amounting to over $734 billion since it was created last year to help small businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic.
The Biden administration announced several changes to the program last February with the aim of making the distribution of loans more equitable, prioritizing the smallest businesses and those that are owned by minorities.
“As you know, particularly Hispanic, as well as African American small businesses are just out of business because they got bypassed the first time around,” Biden said at the signing.
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