WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced changes Monday to the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at ensuring more small and minority-owned businesses 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, Biden said. It will also open a 14-day window starting March 9 for businesses with fewer than 20 employees to apply for relief.
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-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, as well as those in rural areas, administration officials said.