June 5 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Friday signed a bill loosening restrictions on how small businesses can spend stimulus loans without having to pay them back.
The legislation applies to the Paycheck Protection Program, part of a $2 trillion stimulus package Trump signed in March.
"To all of you small-business owners who have been on the outside looking in here, help is on the way," said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who introduced the legislation.
Under the program, small businesses and independent contractors could apply for billions of dollars in loans to offset economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic for two months. The low-interest loans could be forgiven if businesses agreed to certain conditions, including maintaining their payrolls to keep Americans employed.
The legislation signed Friday, though, eased those conditions, allowing businesses to spend the money over the course of 24 weeks instead of eight weeks. It also allows more of the money to be spent on non-payroll expenses -- from 25 percent to 40 percent.
The House passed the bill last week by a 417-1 vote, and senators passed it by a voice vote Wednesday.