WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — If you’re a business owner who received Paycheck Protection money from the government, you may soon have more options on how to use it.
A move by Congress could make spending that PPP money easier, and with fewer rules on paying it back.
With a vote of 417 to 1, the House passed a bill that gives recipients of Paycheck Protection Program loans more time to use that money and greater flexibility on how to spend it.
“I know the mom and pop barber shops and cosmetology shops and nail shops and restaurants, they’re crying out to survive,” said Texas Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX).
Lee said this bill extends the lifeline for many small businesses.
“This further relief for small businesses is well placed,” she said.
Before, PPP loans had to be used up within eight weeks. The bill extends that period to 24 weeks.
“To allow people to get their businesses back up and running,” said Indiana Rep. Larry Buschon (R-IN).
Buschon supports the bill, which also lets borrowers spend only 60 percent of the money on payroll, down from the original 75 percent.
“So I think it’s very important that we do this, it’s based on feedback,” he said.
Since the Paycheck Protection Program was created as part of the CARES Act back in March, most lawmakers agreed improvements were needed.
“There have been some shortcomings, some unintended consequences,” said Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).
Chabot was among those in favor of the changes passed Thursday.
“This promotes greater flexibility for small businesses to decide when it’s best to start spending their PPP loan,” he said.
But before business owners get that flexibility, the bill has to pass the Senate, which is working on its own version of similar legislation, and it’s not clear when either measure will move forward.