Watchdogs: Government has forgiven nearly $400B in pandemic relief loans

Watchdogs: Government has forgiven nearly $400B in pandemic relief loans
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The federal government has forgiven about $400 billion in pandemic relief loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according a group of internal watchdogs. 

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), which comprises 22 inspectors general from different federal agencies, found $394.6 billion was forgiven from 4.1 million loans from the PPP.

There were 11.77 million loans in total amounting to $798.7 billion in loan money given to businesses.

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More than 1 million of the loans given out to companies consisting of one employee, according to an analysis of the data by NBC News. Loans given to these companies totaled more than $12 billion, or about $11,000 per job, according to the news outlet.

The report released Wednesday also found 90.3 million jobs were retained due to the loans that were given to businesses.

The news from the watchdog group comes as the United States reopened businesses following a year that saw companies small and large scramble for financial assistance after lockdowns and social distancing measures hindered revenue. 

The PPP was established as part of a bill passed by Congress in April 2020 for coronavirus relief and was signed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE about one month after the pandemic began to ravage the nation. The program was established to provide loans to businesses to keep workers employed. The program ended on May 31 of this year. 

The top companies to receive funds from the loans were General Motors, McDonald’s and Ford Motor Company, receiving $1.4 billion, $1.3 billion and $964.2 million respectively.

The industries that secured the most funding from the program were construction, health care and social assistance, and professional, scientific and technical services receiving $98.2 billion, $96.3 billion and $94.6 billion respectively.