NEW YORK — The government’s paycheck protection loan program for small businesses is on hold. It was meant to help keep the businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Thursday that it reached the $349 billion lending limit for the program.
Thousands of small business owners whose loans have not yet been processed must now wait for Congress to approve a Trump administration request for another $250 billion for the program.
Lawmakers have been haggling over whether to extend the program as it stands now, or whether to add provisions that among other things would help minority businesses. It’s unclear when they might reach an agreement that would allow loan approvals to continue.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the SBA said it had processed more than 14 years worth of loans in less than 14 days. By law, the SBA says it will not be able to issue new loan approvals now that the program has experienced a lapse in appropriations.
“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 SBA wrote.