LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In surprise move, the U.S. Senate voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program into August, just hours before it was set to expire.
The Senate voted to extend the program to August 8, allowing small business owners more time to apply for a loan.
The extension bill has to pass the U.S. House of Representatives and then signed by President Trump.
CEO/President George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance said the last minute vote came as a surprise because there wasn’t much talk about extending the program. With about $130 billion left in the fund many were left wondering what would happen next.
Swift explained what the extension means for small business owners in Southwest Louisiana.
“This will give our small businesses who did not have an opportunity to apply for this money another opportunity,” Swift said. “The PPP program is particularly good because it allows about an 8-week period of payroll [and] expenses.”
The program offers loans to small business owners to help maintain their businesses through financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Swift said the program has helped many businesses in Southwest Louisiana.
“There have been hundreds that have gotten approval for these funds and it’s been a tremendous help in keeping the businesses open,” Swift said.
Nationwide, more than 4.8 million small business owners have applied to the program. When the program first rolled out, nearly $520 billion was allocated to the fund.
“Businesses that we talked to were concerned about it expiring and that they would not be able to get in,” Swift said. “But now that we have $130 billion left in the fund and the date will be extended to August 8, that will give them time to participate.”