WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed into law the PPP Extension Act of 2021, legislation authored by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to help small employers retain access to forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The bill was endorsed by nearly 100 organizations, including the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Millions of small businesses in communities across our country and more than 36,000 here in New Hampshire have kept their doors open thanks to the significant relief the Paycheck Protection Program provided over the past year, but with revenues still at unsustainable lows, many of these businesses are continuing to struggle and need further help,” said Shaheen.

“A new PPP loan can’t come soon enough for many of our hardest hit small businesses, and by extending access to this lifeline beyond the original March 31st deadline, my bipartisan legislation with Senators Collins and Cardin will help ensure more small businesses can access the help they need to stay afloat. I’m very pleased our bill cleared Congress with such strong support from both sides of the aisle and has been signed into law. I’ll keep working to secure additional resources Main Street needs to weather and recover from this crisis.”

The PPP Extension Act of 2021 will: extend the deadline for PPP applications for another two months to May 31, 2021; and provide an additional 30-day period for the Small Business Association to process applications that are still pending.

Shaheen, Collins and Cardin, along with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), authored the Paycheck Protection Program, which became law as part of the CARES Act last year. In 2020, more than five million small employers received forgivable PPP loans, helping to sustain more than 50 million jobs.

The four architects of the PPP successfully advocated for the inclusion of $284.5 billion in the December COVID-19 relief package to reopen the program. According to the latest data from SBA, 3.1 million PPP loans have been approved in 2021 totaling nearly $196 billion.

Under the December law, small businesses that employ 300 or fewer people and that experienced a 25 percent or greater gross revenue loss between comparable periods in 2019 and 2020 due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for a second forgivable PPP loan.

In addition, forgivable overhead expenses are expanded to include supplier costs and investments in facility modifications and personal protective equipment needed to operate safely.

In recognition of the severe impact that COVID-19 mitigation measures have had on the hospitality sector, in particular, the formula used to calculate the maximum forgivable loan amounts for second draw loans is enhanced for restaurants and hotels to equal 3.5x average monthly payroll. Further, small business owners that did not receive a PPP loan in the first round are also eligible to apply. Additionally, under the American Rescue Plan, which added an additional $7.5 billion in funding to the program, larger nonprofits with multiple locations are now eligible for PPP on a per-location basis.

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