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House, Senate Close to PPP Extension Deal

Congressional leaders are working on an agreement that would change the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program to provide recipients more flexibility in using the cash they receive from the virus-relief fund.

The House on Thursday is expected to vote on a measure to extend the eight-week period during which businesses must use PPP funds to have loans forgiven to 24 weeks or Dec. 31, whichever comes first.

In addition, businesses would be able to repay the loans over five years instead of two, and the current requirement that no more than 25 percent of the money can be spent on expenses would be eradicated.

The Senate, meanwhile, has a similar bill with bipartisan support that would extend the PPP loan application deadline to the end of 2020 from June 30, and also double the eight-week forgiveness period.

Timing is everything in this instance, because the first businesses that received PPP loans after the program officially launched on April 3 are going to start coming up against the current eight-week deadline.

Congressional leaders have expressed confidence that the two chambers will be able to work out a deal on this issue. The Senate is not scheduled to be in town, but have a pro forma session scheduled for Thursday in which its bill could pass if there are no objections to it.

Also possible: The Senate could take up the House bill next week.

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