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Senate and House votes could spur extension of small-business loan program

Following the votes in the Senate and the

Following the votes in the Senate and the House, the passage of the bill was called "a victory for small businesses,'' by Tom Suozzi.  Credit: Bloomberg/Al Drago

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to reopen the PPP and extend until Aug. 8 the deadline for loan applications from small businesses and nonprofits.

The legislation now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature or veto.

The House action followed an unexpected vote by the Senate less than four hours before Tuesday's midnight deadline for PPP loan applications. 

More than $130 billion in federal guarantees for PPP loans are still available, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, which runs the program. 

About 4.8 million loans have been made by banks and other private lenders, totaling $520.6 billion, as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The program started on April 3.

Following Wednesday's House vote, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) said, "This is a victory for small businesses. It is always best when both houses pass bipartisan legislation."

In the Senate on Tuesday, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) called for a quick vote on the PPP deadline extension, saying, "The resources are there, the need is there, we just need to change the date.” 

The Senate action surprised many, including some senators, because the legislation wasn’t scheduled for a vote, said two Senate staffers who requested anonymity.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday, "We had to force our Republican colleagues to act on this very simple and noncontroversial extension — a date change — to help small businesses across New York and Long Island, particularly underserved businesses who had trouble accessing the PPP program in its early days. ... I would’ve hoped that our two parties could have worked this out before last night," he said on the Senate floor.

This isn't the first time that the PPP has lapsed. The loan program ran out of money after its first two weeks and borrowers waited 10 days while Congress and Trump approved more funding.

The bill approved unanimously in Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday only extends the program's deadline; it doesn’t address the wishes of some borrowers for a second loan or better loan terms.

Among the program's loan recipients, the industries receiving the most funds, more than 12% each, were health care/social assistance, professional/scientific/technical services and construction, according to SBA.

In New York State, more than 316,800 PPP loans have been made, totaling $38.1 billion as of Saturday. SBA hasn't provided data for Long Island, but regional administrator Steve Bulger said Monday that "both Nassau and Suffolk counties represent a good number of the New York" loans.

The federally guaranteed loans are for up to $10 million with an interest rate of 1% and a five-year term. The loans may be forgiven in some cases. Newsday received a $10 million loan.

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