President Joe Biden on March 30 signed a two-month extension to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created to help small businesses keep their workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measure (pdf), called the PPP Extension Act of 2021, extends the deadline to apply for a PPP loan to May 31, and gives the Small Business Administration until June 30 to process the applications and authorize the loans.
“It is a bipartisan accomplishment,” Biden said in remarks at the bill signing. “Without somebody signing this bill today, there are hundreds of thousands of people who lose their jobs and small family businesses that might close forever.
“And as you know, small businesses are the backbone of our economy, representing almost 50 percent of all the employees in America.”
The House passed the bill on March 16 and the Senate approved it on March 25 by a vote of 92–7.
“As our communities continue to confront this unprecedented economic crisis, it is critical that our small businesses and workers receive the support they need to stay afloat,” Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said when the Senate passed the bill. “I am pleased to help the Senate pass this extension for the Paycheck Protection Program that will ensure that small businesses can continue to apply for federal relief.”
Biden’s COVID relief bill—the American Rescue Plan, which Biden signed into law on March 11—provides $7.25 billion for the PPP loan and expands PPP for nonprofits.
The Biden administration announced changes to the program in February, providing more financial support to sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals. The change also provided a two-week application window exclusively for small businesses with less than 20 employees.
The PPP was established by the Trump administration last year through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.