Washington, D.C.—One year ago today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) unveiled their plan for a forgivable loan program to help keep small businesses afloat and their workers paid during the pandemic. This plan became the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which they co-authored with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). To date, nearly 39,500 forgivable loans totaling more than $3 billion have been approved for Maine small businesses.
“One year ago today, Senator Marco Rubio and I unveiled a plan to support small businesses and their employees, who were facing tremendous hardship and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our legislation, now the Paycheck Protection Program, helped prevent millions of small businesses from going under and tens of millions of Americans from losing their jobs,” said Senator Collins. “The PPP has been a resounding success. I am pleased to report that more than $3 billion in forgivable PPP loans have been approved for Maine small businesses to date. I am working to extend this vital program to allow small businesses more time to apply and have their loans approved.”
In 2020 alone, more than 28,000 Maine small businesses and self-employed individuals received nearly $2.3 billion in forgivable loans, helping to support more than 250,000 jobs throughout the state. In the December COVID-19 relief law, Senator Collins secured $284.5 billion to reopen the PPP for first-time applicants and allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second PPP loan. Since the program reopened in January, there have been 11,181 forgivable PPP loans approved in Maine totaling $741,029,042.
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.
Last week, Senator Collins introduced a bipartisan bill, S. 723, with Senators Cardin and Shaheen to extend the deadline to apply for new PPP loans from March 31 to May 31, 2021. Her bill would also allow the Small Business Administration 30 days beyond the May 31 date to process applications. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives approved companion legislation, H.R. 1799, by a vote of 415-5. The Senate is expected to vote on that legislation next week.