PPP loan extension bill passes House, moves to Senate

March 17, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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Small businesses may receive a couple more months to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 16, voted 415-3 to extend the deadline from March 31 until May 31. The bill also would give the Small Business Administration until June 30 to process loans.

The PPP Extension Act of 2021, HR1799, now moves to the Senate.

Extending the deadline would give small-businesses, including small-business truckers, more time to take advantage of recent changes to the program aimed at making it easier for sole proprietors and independent contractors to receive an adequate loan amount.

In February, the Small Business Administration announced some changes to the program.

Those changes included:

  • Establishing a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Allowing sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants.
  • Eliminating an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small-business owners with prior nonfraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal.
  • Eliminating PPP access restrictions on small-business owners who have struggled to make federal student loan payments by eliminating federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP.
  • Ensuring access for noncitizen small-business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use an individual taxpayer identification number to apply for the loan.

Before the changes, many sole proprietors and independent contractors were “structurally excluded” from the PPP because of how the loans were calculated. The White House referenced instances of businesses being approved for loans as little as $1.

OOIDA also had been active in letting the agency and lawmakers know about the struggles owner-operators were facing.

“We believe these changes to the Paycheck Protection Program may help owner-operators finally get access to loans, and we appreciate that they are being made,” Bryce Mongeon, OOIDA’s director of legislative affairs, said in late February. “Over the last year, we have told Congress and SBA about the problems OOIDA members have had accessing loans because of the strict way maximum loan amounts are calculated.”

Mongeon added that the March 31 deadline could make it difficult for truckers to take advantage of the program changes.

An extension to May 31 would help that cause.

According to a report from CNBC, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that Democrats want to pass the measure as quickly as possible. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.