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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 CrapoRepublicans open new line of attack on IRS Senate passes long-delayed China bill To address labor shortages, Congress should try a return-to-work bonus MORE (Idaho), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot MORE (Texas), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyConcerns grow over China's Taiwan plans GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack MORE (Mo.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Matt Stoller says cheerleading industry shows why antitrust laws are 'insufficient' Senate chaos: Johnson delays exit as votes pushed to Friday MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message Fox host claims Fauci lied to Congress, calls for prosecution MORE (Ky.), Jim RischJim Elroy RischGOP senators introduce bill to make Iran deal subject to Senate approval US, Iran nuclear talks to resume this weekend House Democrats press key GOP senator to release hold on aid to Palestinians MORE (Idaho) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race MORE (Ala.). 

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The House passed the measure last week, meaning it now heads to President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting 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.