House votes to extend Paycheck Protection Program through early August

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The House on Wednesday voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program through Aug. 8, sending the extension to President Donald Trump‘s desk for a signature.

The unanimous vote came after the program — established to provide funds for small businesses to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — ended Tuesday with more than $130 billion unspent.

Nearly 5 million businesses have received $520 billion in loans under the program.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised the House for passing the extension after the Senate agreed on it just hours before the program was set to expire.

“It’s certainly something to celebrate,” he said. “But I would have hoped that our two parties could have worked this out before last night, as a small part of a much broader legislation to address the many challenges posed by COVID-19.”

Lawmakers in the Senate are expected to begin negotiating the small business portion of the next coronavirus stimulus package after they return from July 4 recess.

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Moving forward, Democrats have proposed extending the PPP application window through December and allowing some small businesses that are able to show they have used all or most of their initial loan to apply for a second loan.

House small business committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., earlier Wednesday called for the Trump administration to provide greater details about how the loans have been distributed.

“We need to make an assessment whether or not the program has been successful,” Velazquez said. “We need the data to be able to conclude that this is the way to go.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza told lawmakers the data would be delivered to the House at the end of this week.

Mnuchin also discussed repurposing the remaining funds for businesses such as hotels and restaurants that have been most affected the pandemic.

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