U.S. Senator Rubio sees consensus for extending paycheck loan program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There appears to be agreement in Washington to give companies more time to utilize their coronavirus aid under the Paycheck Protection Program, the head of the U.S. Senate’s small business committee said on Wednesday.

Senator Marco Rubio told Fox News in an interview that he would like Congress to extend the current eight-week period that the program gives employers to make payroll with a quick, simple bill without further additions beyond that provision — a so-called clean bill.

“There’s actually unanimity up here for the most part,” he said. “Everybody agrees this crisis has evolved.”

“The only question now is can we pass it as clean bill,” he added, noting that he had proposed legislation to extend the time period for small companies to use the federal loans to 12 or 16 weeks and still seek forgiveness if used on payroll.

Any measure would have to pass the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats who want more comprehensive action amid the pandemic and last week passed a $3 trillion coronavirus aid package that Senate Republicans, who control the upper chamber, quickly rejected.

On Tuesday, U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on said he could support giving borrowers up to 10 or 12 weeks to utilize their PPP loans. U.S. President Donald Trump, who would have to sign any measure into law, has also said he backs an extension.

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