Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
The House passed a bill Wednesday to extend the deadline to apply for forgivable small business aid through a key coronavirus relief program.
The legislation, which the Senate already approved, extends the deadline to request Paycheck Protection Program loans to Aug. 8 from June 30. The measure, passed in a unanimous vote, heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.
Congress created the program as part of the $2 trillion pandemic rescue package passed in March. It aims to help small businesses keep employees on payroll during closures designed to slow the outbreak.
The Trump administration still has not doled out $130 billion in loan funds set aside for the program.
Congress first put $349 billion into the PPP, but the money quickly evaporated. It then injected another $310 billion into the program, with $60 billion set aside for small lenders in response to concerns that companies with no existing banking relationship had trouble getting loans.
Lawmakers also passed a bill to make change the conditions for getting loans forgiven, including reducing the share of funds businesses need to spend on payroll and extending the amount of time they have to use the money.
Congress expects to consider another coronavirus relief plan later this month. Among a range of other proposals, lawmakers will decide whether to approve more small business aid.
In a tweet Tuesday, Senate Small Business Committee Chair Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the “vast majority” of people who wanted to access a PPP loan “have already used it.” He added that “what we really need to pass very soon is targeted help for those who need a second round of aid.”