WATCH: Biden signs two-month paycheck protection program extension into law
President Joe Biden signed a bill extending the paycheck protection program.
Watch the signature in the video player above.
Speaking in the Oval Office, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Small Business Administration administrator Isabella Guzman, before signing the extension, Biden said his administration “was pushing lenders to improve their game.”
“A lot of small businesses, especially Hispanic and African American small businesses, are simply bankrupt because they were bypassed the first time around,” Biden said.
He said the extension was “a bipartisan achievement” and thanked a group of bipartisan members of Congress for their help.
The Senate passed a 92-7 bill last Thursday to extend the deadline for business owners to apply for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, giving applicants two more months to apply for federal assistance. Congress launched the loan program last year to help businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline for applications would be extended until May 31 under the bill, and the federal government would have until June 30 to process applications.
The COVID-19 relief bill that Biden enacted this month included an additional $ 7.25 billion for the program, but it did not extend the timeline for obtaining loans. Business groups have lobbied lawmakers to keep the program working to ensure that businesses that still need help can get it.
The Small Business Administration reports that it has approved nearly 7.9 million loans totaling about $ 704 billion.
The loans are structured so that they can be fully canceled if the recipient attempts to maintain similar employment levels and uses at least 60 percent of the loan to cover salary costs. The remaining 40 percent can be spent on rent, utility costs and other operational expenses.
“This bipartisan legislation comes at a time when small business owners are still grappling with the economic effects of the pandemic and extending the paycheck protection program even for a short time to deplete existing funds will help. some of the small businesses that need it. most, ”said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and policy director of the US Chamber of Commerce.