Bipartisan House lawmakers announced a deal Thursday to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for two months, ensuring that funds can still flow to small businesses following a March 31 expiration date on the program. 

The agreement was negotiated by House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Blaine LuetkemeyerWilliam (Blaine) Blaine LuetkemeyerFinancial regulators home in on climate risksThe Biden EO game: Executive order vs. economic opportunityLawmakers say bipartisan legislation key to economic recoveryMORE (R-Mo.), the committee’s top Republican, as well as Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.). The new bill, dubbed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Extension Act, would delay the programs loan application deadline to May 31 and allows the Small Business Administration to process applications for 30 more days beyond that point. 

The demand for PPP loans right now is a testament to the programs effectiveness and the lingering impacts of this pandemic, said Velázquez. Thats why we cannot cut off aid now and this short-term extension is so important.

As America begins to open up for business and vaccines become more widely distributed across the country, we must provide targeted relief for small businesses that need it most. This bipartisan legislation will provide a commonsense extension to the Paycheck Protection Program and the tools for Main Street USA to contribute to their local economies once again, added Luetkemeyer. 

The House will vote on the bill next week, according to Politico, which first reported on the agreement.

The extension will likely quell some concerns that PPP funds could run dry, particularly as the approval time for applications lengthened due to more stringent fraud reviews.

The PPP has offered over $687 billion in pandemic relief. The loans provided to small businesses can be forgiven if employers maintain their payrolls, making the program one of the most popular aspects of last years $2.2 trillion CARES Act.