Senate to try to pass fix for Paycheck Protection Program Thursday
The Senate is trying to pass a fix for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) before leaving town for the Memorial Day recess.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, told reporters that leadership is trying to “hotline” the change, a procedural tactic that lets them find out if any senator would object to passing a piece of legislation.
“There’s a fix that’s going to be tried … today to the PPP program that would extend it,” Thune said.
If no senator objects, Thune said the chamber could pass the bill on Thursday. It would extend the period of time that money from a PPP loan can be spent beyond the eight-week window established by the March coronavirus response bill.
The fix, according to Thune, has the support of both Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Small Business Committee.
Rubio says they are trying to extend the window to 16 weeks.
“Feel increasingly (yet cautiously) optimistic we will have strong bipartisan support to pass a bill today that would extend the period in which small businesses can use #PPP funds,” Rubio tweeted on Thursday.
Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Thune’s Democratic counterpart, told The Hill on Thursday that he hoped the fix for the program passed and that it had bipartisan support.
The PPP was set up by the March $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill as a program that would provide loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees suffering under the pandemic. But senators have raised concerns that businesses would not be able to spend the money in the initial eight-week period.
Updated at 12:09 p.m.