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PPP loans deadline passes, but not before Senate approves extension

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A close-up of the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application.

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There is still money left in the Paycheck Protection Program, about $130 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed. But the deadline to apply for aid has come and gone. That means, unless Congress acts, that money will be left unused.

Last night, with the deadline nearing, there was congressional action, but not soon enough.

Marketplace’s Nova Safo is following the story. He shared the details with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio, and the following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

David Brancaccio: Nova, what happened last night?

Nova Safo: The deadline to apply to get a loan under the paycheck protection program was the end of June. Now we’re in July. There is still money left, but Congress and the Trump administration have not yet figured out what to do with that money.

Then last night, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, got on the Senate floor and said this:

“The authority of the small business administration to approve any more paycheck protection program loans expires at midnight tonight.”

And Cardin went on to say that Congress had set an end of June deadline because of a key assumption:

We thought by the end of June that our economy would be back on track and we would not need to have additional applications after that date. Well, a lot has changed.”

A lot has changed since March, when they initially created the $670 billion program. Cardin asked for a unanimous consent vote to extend the deadline through Aug. 8 and it passed.

Brancaccio: The House and the Trump administration would have to agree to this, as well. What’s the likelihood of that?

Safo: Well, we know they want to do something. The question is whether they just pass a simple extension or make further modifications. Congressional Democrats want to adjust the program, for example, allowing some small businesses to take out a second PPP loan. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a House panel in testimony Tuesday that the Trump administration wants to target the remaining money to the hardest hit businesses — hotels, restaurants and the like. So the various sides still have some details to hammer out.

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