Late last night, the U.S. Senate extended the Paycheck Protection Program to August 8, hours before it was set to expire with over $130 billion left in funding. The bill (S. 4116) passed by unanimous consent; the House now needs to act before it can reach the president’s desk. 

The move surprised even the Democrats who forced the action on the floor, according to CNN reporting. While there had been discussions about moving the deadline, no substantive moves had been taken toward agreement on an extension until shortly before it actually reached the floor. 

As of June 27 (the latest SBA data available), nearly 4.8 million small businesses nationally have received PPP loans for a total of almost $518 billion. In Wisconsin, over 84,000 businesses received loans, totaling over $9.8 billion. 

On Twitter, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he didn’t object to the extension but that “the vast majority of small businesses that wanted to benefit from the program have already used it.” The dramatic slowdown in demand for PPP loans in the second round of funding (the first round was extinguished in under two weeks), supports Rubio’s statement. 

The extension keeps the program’s funds available as a lifeline to small businesses even as Congress debates next steps in their efforts to soften the economic blows delivered by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Rubio, who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee, said Congress now needs to focus on crafting legislation that will provide a second round of relief.