The U.S. Small Business Administration stopped accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program after exhausting the initial $349 billion in funding provided by Congress to fund forgivable loans to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SBA, which is administrating the program with Treasury, posted a statement on its website saying that it is currently unable to accept new PPP applications based on available appropriations funding. The SBA also said it is unable to enroll new PPP lenders at this time.
The AICPA issued a news release urging Congress to swiftly approve additional funding for the program.
“The need for quick and decisive action by Congress is clear,” the AICPA release says. “Small businesses are the nation’s economic engine, and supporting and stabilizing them is essential to our economic recovery.”
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136, established the PPP to provide up to $349 billion in forgivable loans that business with 500 or fewer employees could use to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. Congress authorized the Treasury and the SBA to spearhead the PPP process as an extension of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program.
Small businesses have flooded SBA-approved lenders with PPP requests since the application window opened April 3. Lenders and the SBA have struggled to keep up with the demand as small businesses seek desperately needed help in an economy stymied by restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that caused COVID-19.
“This program was rolled out with remarkable speed, and while there have been some bumps along the way, small businesses view the Paycheck Protection Program as a critical lifeline,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, in the Institute’s news release. “We need to extend that support so we can protect workers and ensure our economy can rebound quickly once restrictions are lifted.”
The SBA has approved more than 1.6 million loans submitted by nearly 5,000 lenders. That has accounted for more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday night by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. Mnuchin and Carranza also urged Congress to approve $250 billion in additional funding.
“We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program — a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program — at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks,” the joint statement said.
The U.S. economy has lost 22 million jobs over the past four weeks, according to unemployment benefits claim data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.
For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the pandemic, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page.
— Jeff Drew (Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.