Aug 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans push to expand small business loan program

Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins talk in the Senate subway
Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday filed two big amendments to legislation introduced last week that would extend the deadline to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans and permit some recipients to apply for new PPP loans.

Why it matters: The current program expires on Saturday, despite more than $100 billion left over from the CARES Act.

Rubio and Collins' proposals would, among other things:

  • Permit small businesses with fewer than 500 employees to apply for initial PPP loans past the current Aug. 8 deadline.
  • Allow existing PPP recipients with fewer than 300 employees to reapply for new loans, so long as they can demonstrate pandemic-related revenue loss of at least 35%. An earlier GOP proposal put the threshold at 50%.
  • Provide greater flexibility for existing recipients of PPP by simplifying loan forgiveness for smaller borrowers and expanding the categories of permissible expenditures.
  • Allocate an extra $10 million to the Minority Business Development Agency.

The state of play: Democrats and Republicans seem to have general agreement on extending and amending PPP, but likely would only pass those changes as part of a broader stimulus package which for now remains deadlocked.

  • A congressional aide familiar with the talks tells Axios that Rubio's team discussed PPP with congressional Democrats at the policy level earlier on Tuesday, and expects movement on these amendments this week.
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