Lawmakers are working to expand a wage protection program for indigent small business owners.
The popular loan program expires on March 31, but many would like to see that deadline extended. A new bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would give the program two more months.
The Bipartisan Wage Protection Program Extension Act, introduced by House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Carolyn Bourdeau (D-Ga.), and Young Kim (R-Calif.) after numerous calls from lenders, business owners, and other advocates for the PPP extension.
The bipartisan bill has also been introduced in the Senate by Ben Cardin, chair of the Senate Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises, Senator Susan Collins, R-ME, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, MD.
As one of the original creators of the wage protection program last year, I was disappointed that the US bailout package unfortunately did not include an extension of these credits despite our efforts, Shaheen said in a statement. I am pleased to continue the work that Senators Collins, Cardin and I began together last year when we launched the wage protection program with this common-sense step to extend the maturity of PPP loans. Congress needs to take action to preserve this lifeline for small businesses trying to keep their heads above water.
Both the American Society of Travel Advisors and the American Travel Association lobbied for this expansion.
The hardest hit US companies still need urgent help. Extending the deadline for PPP applications is therefore critical to helping the U.S. economy through the coming uncertain months, said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association. The leisure and hospitality sector now accounts for nearly 40% of all unemployment in the United States, and it is still unclear when demand for tourism services will naturally recover. The expansion of PPPs is vital for employers in the travel sector to continue to operate, otherwise many risk closing their doors and losing their jobs forever.
Barnes hopes this legislation will be passed soon.
We look forward to the review and passage of the P3 Extension Act next week, she said.
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