WASHINGTON (March 18, 2021) — The PPP Extension Act of 2021 passed the House of Representatives in a 415-3 vote this week, extending the program to May 31 from the current application deadline of March 31. The Senate is expected to approve the bill this week. The push to extend the program follows the passing of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes $7 billion to expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Biden administration made changes to the program in February that allowed a 2-week period where only small business with fewer than 20 employees could apply for new PPP loans. The goal is to help the smallest businesses collect funds to offset financial instability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the changes provided more funding for sole proprietors and self-employed individuals, eliminate the restriction preventing small business owners with nonfraud related felonies from receiving aid, allow small business owners with student aid debt to receive PPP loans and ensure access for noncitizens who are lawful residents.

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But the rollout of the new PPP rules caused confusion and missed deadlines for businesses that were unaware and is a major factor in the expected extension of the program to May. The program was extended in 2020 as well.