The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to allow restaurants and other small businesses to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans through May 31, essentially averting a shutdown of the application process next Wednesday.
The measure passed by a 92-7 vote also allows the U.S. Small Business Administration to continue processing the applications through June 30.
The PPP has about $110 billion left to lend. About $190.5 billion has already been lent. Foodservice and lodging establishments have received 18% of the loans granted, “driven primarily by restaurants,” according to the SBA. The average loan across all industries has been $64,428.
The PPP allows the loans to be forgiven if the borrower spends the funds in accordance with SBA guidelines. Those regulations permit outlays for payroll, rent, mortgage payments and utilities, among other charges.
The agency notes that about 190,000 applications for PPP are still pending. Any of those still outstanding as of March 31 would have ceased being processed.
The act extending the program now goes to President Biden, who is expected to sign it in the next few days. The measure was approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday by a 415-3 vote. Approval by the Senate was less certain because of anticipated resistance from Republicans.