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

Axios roundtable on small business

On Thursday, September 24 Axios' Sara Fischer and Dan Primack hosted the first in a series of three virtual roundtables, featuring business leaders, innovators, and policy experts to discuss how small businesses have adapted to the COVID-19 economy, the role of digital tools, and the path forward.

Moderators highlighted a study recently by Connected Commerce Council that showed 93% of small businesses were affected by coronavirus in loss of revenue, loss of customer base, the inability to use brick and mortar facilities, or access to staff. Attendees unpacked small business needs in a time of crisis, the impact of the Paycheck Protection Program, and broader trends in entrepreneurship.

Trevor Parham, founder and director of Oakstop and co-founder of the Oakland Black Business Fund discussed how capital buys small businesses time to make better informed decisions:

  • "A big part of what businesses need is not just the capital and not just the education, but it's the resource of time...A big part of what businesses are lacking at the small business level, especially minority businesses, is they don't have the runway to contemplate what they want to do as their next strategic move where some other businesses might."

Aerica Shimizu Banks, founder at Shiso LLC highlighted the specific needs of Black and minority owned businesses:

  • "The SBA and government agencies are somewhat limited in targeting by race and therefore create race blind policies that have the unintended consequences of sometimes cementing inequity in the distribution of resources and loans."
  • "There is also a strong story of resilience here for business owners of color, for women-owned businesses, that despite these challenges in the midst of this crisis, what we're seeing is that particularly business owners of color have been making the best of this pandemic in converting to digital."

Sery Kim, assistant administrator at the US Small Business Administration, Office of Women's Business Ownership discussed the most common obstacle for women starting their own businesses.

  • "The number one barrier for women being entrepreneurs is not access to capital. It is childcare."

Emilia Dimenco, Women's Business Development Center president and CEO on what small businesses need during economically turbulent periods:

  • "They really need technical assistance. A large corporation would hire a major consulting firm to help them pivot, help them through a major change. A small business can't do that. [They need] quality advisory services, and financial and business acumen."

Thank you Google for sponsoring this event.

Trump's 2 chilling debate warnings

Photo: Morry Gash/Pool via Getty Images

One of the few groups in America with anything to celebrate after last night's loud, ugly, rowdy presidential "debate" was the violent, far-right Proud Boys, after President Trump pointedly refused to condemn white supremacist groups.

Why it matters: This was a for-the-history-books moment in a debate that was mostly headache-inducing noise. Trump failed to condemn racist groups after four months when millions marched for racial justice in the country's largest wave of activism in half a century.

Ina Fried, author of Login
38 mins ago - Technology

Candidates go online to cut through debate noise

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

While President Trump and Joe Biden fought to be heard in a rowdy debate Tuesday, both campaigns sought to draw digital battle lines and occupy online turf they could have all to themselves.

The big picture: Trump's impulsive Twitter style made a shambles of the debate format, but online the candidates were able to find niches where they couldn't be interrupted — and could motivate their supporters to donate, organize and turn out to vote.