Government has forgiven nearly $400 billion in Covid-relief PPP loans, federal watchdogs say

The federal government has forgiven $394.6 billion in more than 4 million loans to businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to new data published by a group of internal federal watchdogs.

More than a million of those forgiven Covid relief loans were to companies with just one employee, at a cost of $12.8 billion, or an average of about $11,497 per job, according to an analysis of the data by NBC News.

The data was released Wednesday by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), a group made up of 22 inspectors general from different federal agencies that monitors all Covid relief spending for the government.

In total, according to the data, the Small Business Administration provided 11.7 million loans nationwide totaling more than $798 billion. The most recent batch of loans was sent out on June 30, and no more money is currently available under the program.

The top franchisees to get funds overall were General Motors franchises at $1.4 billion, according to the newly published data. Following that were McDonald’s franchisees, which received $1.3 billion in funds, and Subway stores, which got $672.9 million.

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The vast majority of companies told the federal government they used the money for payroll — $776 billion out of the $798 billion disbursed. As of June 30, businesses said that PPP funding allowed them to retain 90.3 million jobs.

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On June 30, when Covid cases and unemployment had declined and vaccines were abundant, the federal government sent out $33 million in PPP loans to 62 businesses that reported they had a total of 4,469 employees.

Some of the biggest winners in this last round of PPP loans were four Planned Parenthood affiliates, which got a combined $4.13 million.

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GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky objected to any further PPP funding going to Planned Parenthood during a hearing in late May. The Trump administration had tried to pull back funding from Planned Parenthood affiliates that were given $80 million in PPP loans last year.

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