WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is targeting federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and taking steps to further equity in what is known as the Paycheck Protection Program.
The administration is establishing a two-week window, starting on Wednesday, in which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for the forgivable loans. Such businesses are the majority of small businesses in the U.S.
Biden’s team is also carving out $1 billion to direct toward sole proprietors, such as home contractors and beauticians, the majority of which are owned by women and people of color.
In addition to those changes, Biden said his administration was making changes to allow business owners who may have defaulted on a student loan or may have a non-fraud-related criminal record to apply for a PPP loan, things that were previously prohibited.
In remarks on Monday, Biden called the changes a "starting point," and called on lawmakers to pass his proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package.