PPP pandemic relief for small businesses is beset by confusion and dashed hopes
The federal government’s massive Payroll Protection Program, which has been a lifeline for small businesses hit by the pandemic, has become so mired in confusion and delays as money runs out that hundreds of thousands of applicants may get no help, especially in underserved minority communities.
During the first months after President Biden took office, his administration far exceeded its predecessor in channeling funds to vulnerable companies. But in recent weeks, as the program’s May 31 expiration date draws near, the agency responsible for it has been overwhelmed, and lenders can’t even be sure how much money is still available for loans.
As of Friday, only about $3 billion was left of the $800 billion provided for the program, according to congressional staff. And if conservatives in Congress continue to balk at more spending, companies that have struggled through the worst…