WASHINGTON, D.C. – Facing expiration at the end of the month, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today voted to extend the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until May 31, 2021, providing additional two months for struggling small businesses, particularly underserved minority and women-owned businesses, to apply for and get the assistance they need.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has been a lifeline, helping millions of businesses across the country stay afloat during this economic crisis,” said Sen. Menendez. “In communities across NJ, many small, neighborhood and mom & pop businesses are right now awaiting approval and many more are getting ready to apply for these lifesaving loans. Without today’s action to extend the PPP, not only would our most underserved businesses -- many women and minority-owned -- be left struggling to survive, billions in loan funds would be left sitting on the table.  That’s why I’m so glad we were able to come together and ensure there’s help available to keep our neighborhood shops going and get our economy moving.”

In February, three out of every ten small businesses said that they likely would not survive 2021 without additional government assistance. To date, the program has made 8.2 million loans totaling $718 billion, including 80,452 PPP loans amounting to $6,289,473,298 made to New Jersey small businesses.

The PPP program was set to expire March 31, with an estimated $50 billion in unobligated funds remaining. Passage of the PPP Extension Act gives small businesses until May 31st to submit their PPP applications and the SBA the authority to process any pending applications until June 30, 2021.

The PPP was established in the CARES Act as a subprogram of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) loan guarantee program. Under PPP, banks and other private lenders make fully guaranteed SBA loans to small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are intended to assist small businesses with meeting payroll costs and other expenses and offers full loan forgiveness if loan proceeds are spent on such purposes.