Senate agrees to extend small business rescue in surprise move

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The Senate in a surprising move Tuesday evening passed legislation that would keep the government’s massive small business rescue program alive just as it was set to close down within hours with $130 billion left unspent.

The bill approved by unanimous consent would give the Small Business Administration authority to continue approving Paycheck Protection Program loans, which can be turned into grants, until Aug. 8. To keep the loans flowing, the House would need to pass the legislation and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Senators reached a consensus after it became clear in recent weeks that struggling employers would need further federal aid. As of Tuesday evening, the SBA had approved $520.6 billion via nearly 4.9 million loans.