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Biden to announce changes in loan program aimed at aiding small and minority-owned businesses

Biden to announce changes in loan program aimed at aiding small and minority-owned businesses

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce changes Monday to the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at ensuring that more small and minority-owned

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce changes Monday to the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at ensuring that more small and minority-owned business are able to qualify for federal assistance as a result of the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The changes are intended to facilitate loans for contractors and self-employed people, noncitizens who are lawful U.S. residents and business owners with previous nonfraud convictions, administration officials said. It will also open a 14-day window starting March 9 for businesses with fewer than 20 employees to apply for relief.

Feb. 5, 202100:35

Biden had previously criticized the small-business loan program, which was started during the Trump administration, for having helped larger businesses with existing banking relationships while smaller businesses struggled to obtain relief. The changes are aimed specifically at helping minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses, as well as those in rural areas, administration officials said.

Biden administration officials have cautioned that the pandemic, which has crippled many small businesses, is months from being over. At least 400,000 small businesses have closed permanently, an administration official said.

Biden has pledged that every American who wants to be vaccinated will be able to do so by the end of July, but getting those shots into arms could take time, and a number of variables remain about the vaccines’ effectiveness among new strains and how widely they will be adopted. Some businesses could be unable to return to some sense of normal well beyond the summer.

The Paycheck Protection Program reopened a month ago with new fraud protections and a focus on getting aid to smaller businesses that weren’t able to get assistance previously, particularly Black- and Latino-owned businesses. Since then, administration officials have said that the share of funding going to businesses with fewer than 10 employees is up by almost 60 percent and that the share of funding going to small businesses in rural areas is up by nearly 30 percent.

Biden is also seeking additional funding from Congress to help small businesses, including $15 billion in grants for the hardest-hit businesses and $35 billion for small-business lending programs.

Just about half of the $285 billion Congress allocated for the program has been directed to businesses, administration officials said. The program is set to end March 31.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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