Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate both unanimously voted to extend the application period for Paycheck Protection Program loans through Aug. 8, just hours before it was set to expire.

Why it matters: There's still over $130 billion in PPP funds available, which could help small businesses pay overhead and keep employees on payroll. It also could help independent contractors like Uber drivers.

Why it doesn't matter: The application period can't be extended until President Trump signs it into law. But, more importantly, it's unclear that there's much demand for this money.

  • My understanding is that Treasury and the SBA originally calculated that there could be up to $600 billion in total demand for PPP funds, based on their payroll calculations of U.S. small businesses. So far it's approved around $520 billion in loans, not including around $38 billion that was returned or otherwise canceled, which is a pretty heady percentage.
  • Remember, some small businesses ⁠— like grocers ⁠— experienced a surge in business from the pandemic, so never applied.
  • Some applicants got shut out in the PPP's early days due to bank prioritization, and have since gone out of business. Plus, some major lenders like Wells Fargo stopped taking applications months ago, despite the available funds.

What's actually needed: A serious discussion about PPP 3, particularly as major states pause or scale back their economic reopening plans.

  • This would be a new program available to small businesses that already received initial PPP loans but still face severe economic hardships.
  • It also could be a more efficient, fairer, and more transparent process — given what's been learned over the past three months (including loan recipient data, which is expected to be released by EOD tomorrow).

The bottom line: PPP was designed as a bridge to the summer, but the other side is a much cooler season. Last night's Senate action only added a few feet of new asphalt, with miles still needed.

Go deeper: How to improve the Paycheck Protection Program

Go deeper

Why the employee retention credit is an overlooked stimulus issue

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

D.C. remains deadlocked on the next stimulus package, days after extended unemployment benefits ended and days before PPP is set to expire.

Where it stands: One unresolved issue that hasn't gotten enough attention is a proposed expansion of the employee retention credit, which could have a significant impact for companies that have experienced severe revenue declines.

2 hours ago - World

Macron visits Beirut promising a "new political pact" for Lebanon

Macron visits the hard-hit Gemmayzeh neighborhood. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron walked through the blast-damaged streets of Beirut on Thursday, swarmed by people chanting for the fall of Lebanon's government and pleading for international aid.

Why it matters: Lebanon is at a breaking point. Its economy was collapsing and its government hardly functioning — all before a massive explosion destroyed swathes of the capital city, including its vital port.

2 hours ago - Sports

The PGA Championship is golf's first major in over a year

Photo: Gary Kellner/PGA of America via Getty Images

The 2020 PGA Championship tees off Thursday at San Francisco's TPC Harding Park, which is hosting its first-ever major.

Why it matters: It's the first major in more than a year — and the first of seven majors in the next 12 months. Though there won't be any fans in attendance, the excitement is palpable.