Small businesses are the engines of our economy, the glue of our communities, and account for half of private sector employment. But since the start of this pandemic, more than 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed and millions more are hanging by a thread.
Vice President Harris and I are committed to getting small businesses the help they need to survive, recover, and grow. The Biden-Harris Administration has distributed more than $180 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funding to nearly 3 million small businesses. In partnership with Congress, our administration has been distributing funds more equitably, with a focus on the smallest "mom and pop" businesses and those in underserved areas.
Compared to past rounds of the Program, we are distributing a higher percentage of loans to the smallest businesses, to rural businesses, and to businesses in low- and moderate-income communities. And since our Administration changed the rules to provide more generous relief to sole proprietors, there's been a big increase in the number of loan approvals for that key group, who are disproportionately likely to be women and minorities.
We know there is more to do to support our nation's small businesses, and we are eager to continue to partner with Congress to build on this success. We want to ensure that every "mom and pop" small business in America has the resources it needs to rehire and retain workers, purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe, and pursue opportunities to expand.
That is why my Administration strongly supports extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, and is eager to work with the Senate to ensure this extension is passed well in advance of the March 31st expiration of the Program.
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