WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democrats have driven a temporary extension of a popular subsidy program for small businesses through the GOP-controlled Senate.
Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin pushed for the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program hours before a deadline for applying for the program, which was created in March and has been modified twice.
The measure is not a done deal though. It must also pass the house and be signed by President Donald Trump.
If approved by Trump and the House, the new deadline for businesses to apply for PPP loans would be pushed back to Aug. 8.
The proposed extension is an unexpected development that comes as spikes in coronavirus cases in many states are causing renewed shutdowns of bars and other businesses.
The pressure swayed Republicans controlling the Senate, who have delayed consideration of a fifth coronavirus relief bill and are preparing to go home for a two-week recess.
About 4.8 million businesses received a PPP loan, with a total of $519 billion lent out. But as of Tuesday, there was still more than $130 billion left in the pot.
As to why that is, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council says there's a few reasons, like concerns over how much would actually be forgiven, constantly changing rules, and strict limits to how the money can be used.
“Not all businesses are the same. So, you know you've got businesses with high overhead, maybe few on payroll,” said Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the SBE Council. “This program really didn't align with their needs.”