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Senate passes extension of popular small-business loan program

Senate passes extension of popular small-business loan program
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The Senate on Thursday passed legislation extending a popular small-business program created by Congress last year during the coronavirus downturn.

Senators voted 92-7 to extend the deadline for applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides loans to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus, from March 31 to May 31.

Seven Republicans voted against the bill: Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoSenate GOP crafts outlines for infrastructure counter proposal Left-leaning group: SALT cap repeal would worsen racial income disparities On The Money: Inflation rears its head amid spending debate | IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting T | Restaurants fret labor shortage MORE (Idaho), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEvery day should be Earth Day Hawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill MORE (Texas), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill On The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal MORE (Mo.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill Senate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Hillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Senate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill MORE (Ky.), Jim RischJim Elroy RischSenate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill Pompeo joins GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill to introduce Iran sanctions act GOP lawmakers block Biden assistance to Palestinians MORE (Idaho) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban Biden dispatches Cabinet members to sell infrastructure plan Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl MORE (Ala.). 

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The House passed the measure last week, meaning it now heads to President BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE's desk for his expected signature.

In addition to extending the window for applying for the loans, which can be forgiven if borrowers meet certain requirements, the bill also gives the Small Business Administration until June 30 to process the applications.

Business groups have been pushing for Congress to extend the application window, arguing it will provide the financial support needed to keep businesses afloat until the country’s adult population is vaccinated and COVID-19 lockdown measures are lifted.

The program was first created under the bipartisan CARES Act in late March of last year. Congress has passed additional measures to continue funding for the program, including allowing the hardest-hit small businesses to apply for a second loan.

Biden announced policy changes to the PPP in February aimed at targeting assistance to businesses with 20 or fewer employees and minority-owned firms. The administration instituted a 14-day period, which ended on March 9, when only businesses with fewer than 20 employees could apply for the loans.