WASHINGTON — President Trump signed bipartisan legislation Saturday morning, extending and revising the Paycheck Protection Program until Aug. 8.

The new law had rare bipartisan support in Congress. On May 27,  the House passed the measure by 417-1 and the Senate approved it by unanimous consent on June 3.

The bill is an attempt to address concerns expressed by the small business community around the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed at providing COVID-19 relief.

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“The Paycheck Protection Program has been instrumental in helping employers keep workers on payroll during the pandemic and, thanks to this extension signed into law today, it will continue to play an important role as our economy reopens and Ohioans get back to business,” said U.S. Rep Troy Balderson, whose district includes part of Richland County.

Balderson serves on the House Committee on Small Business, which is the primary committee of jurisdiction over small business relief programs implemented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Administered by the SBA, the PPP is a forgivable loan designed to provide direct support for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll and their lights on. Enactment of H.R. 7437 means small businesses will have access to apply for the remaining $130 billion in relief until August 8.

Eligible small businesses may apply for PPP loans through any existing SBA-approved lending institution before the Aug. 8 deadline.

According to published reports, the new act:

-- reduces the amount of the loan needed to be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%, thus increasing the amount of funds available for other expenses from 25% to 40%.

-- extends the time period to spend the loans to 24 weeks. While businesses will still need to spend the money on payroll and authorized expenses, they now have until the end of 2020 to do so.

-- gives businesses until until Dec. 31, 2020, to rehire workers in order for their salaries to count towards forgiveness.

-- gives businesses forgiveness on payroll amounts if it is unable to rehire an individual who was an employee of the eligible recipient on or before February 15, 2020; is able to demonstrate an inability to hire similarly qualified employees on or before Dec. 31, 2020; or is able to demonstrate an inability to return to the same level of business activity as such business was operating at prior to Feb. 15, 2020.