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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.

Go deeper

3. Minority-led SMBs turn to digital tools because of lack of funding

Small businesses owned by minorities were more likely to make the most out of digital tools during COVID-19, according to the Digitally Driven study.

Why it’s important: These minority-owned businesses that quickly adapted to the new normal and have a higher comfort level with digital tools have become more focused on long-term business goals through the pandemic.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.