Durbin Joins Colleagues To Introduce Bipartisan Bill Extending Paycheck Protection Program

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), to introduce a bipartisan bill that would extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to reflect the fact that economic shutdowns have lasted longer than originally anticipated. The bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act would extend the deadline to apply for a PPP from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020, and allow borrowers 16 weeks to use their loan funds, instead of eight weeks.

“Many small businesses in Illinois are still struggling to stay afloat during the unprecedented economic situation caused by the pandemic. This bill makes commonsense reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program that will allow small business owners to tap into this federal program with the hopes that it will keep people employed and businesses alive as we weather the storm caused by COVID-19,” Durbin said.

Since the launch of the PPP in early April, the program has provided loans totaling more than $22 billion to approximately 181,000 small employers across Illinois.  The overwhelming majority of borrowers are very small – according to the latest data, nearly two-thirds of all PPP loans are for $50,000 or less, and the average size of a PPP loan is just $116,000, suggesting an average employer size of about 10 employees.

The Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act would make the following changes to the PPP:

  • Extend the deadline to apply for a PPP from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020. 
  • Allow borrowers 16 weeks to use their loan funds, instead of 8 weeks. 
    • The maximum loan amount a borrower could receive would not change.
  • Allow borrowers to use loan funds to purchase personal protective equipment for employees and to pay for adaptive investments needed to reopen safely. 
    • Adaptive investments include modifications to a commercial property to comply with public health guidelines from CDC and other relevant federal agencies.  These investments could include creating or expanding a drive-through window, physical barriers such as sneeze guards, ventilation system upgrades, etc.
  • Clarify that borrowers who have maintained payroll for 8 weeks will not lose loan forgiveness due to the extension of the program to 16 weeks. 
  • Clarify the lender hold harmless provision.
    • Ensures that lenders are not held liable for the borrower certification and documentation they provide when applying for a PPP and subsequent forgiveness. Additionally, lenders who followed PPP guidance released by SBA/Treasury are not held liable for doing so if that guidance changed.  

Full text of the bill is available here.