The window for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program is quickly drawing to a close, and the Treasury Department reports there’s more than $130 billion left in the government relief program. For Black businesses, this could be the last opportunity to take advantage of much-needed funding before legislators decide what to do with the remaining money.

Since its inception, the Paycheck Protection Program has raised questions about where the funding is distributed. Large establishments like Ruth’s Chris were able to collect millions in dollars allotted for small businesses, while many Black businesses, in particular, were shut out due to the nature of the lending process. Though the original model had its issues, the second round of PPP made financial assistance available for community banks and minority-owned institutions. 

There is still money left and there is still time to file for relief.

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Congressional aides say there is a bipartisan effort to make sure the remaining dollars go toward assisting small businesses, but there is no agreement on what that means or looks like. According to the Wall Street Journal, Senate Democrats have proposed to allow PPP recipients another opportunity to receive funds if they have 100 or fewer employees. They must also be able to prove they’ve had a revenue loss of at least 50 percent. 

The Journal also reports that an introduction of bipartisan legislation to forgive all loans is also in the pipeline. As COVID-19 continues to affect much of the country, many Americans are continuing to feel financially strapped by the crisis. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has vocalized support of a stimulus to help address the needs, saying this month that he believes another round of legislation should be carefully crafted to give Americans the aide they need.

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