July 4 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump signed a law Saturday extending the deadline for small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.
The extension of PPP, which was established to provide small businesses relief from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was passed by Congress earlier in the week. Trump signed the legislation to extend the PPP, which expired Tuesday with $130 million unspent.
The new deadline is Aug. 8. A watchdog in May found that "rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received the loans as intended," because the Small Business Administration did not prioritize underserved and rural markets.
The PPP was part of a $2 trillion stimulus package signed in March to recover from coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Trump signed a bill loosening restrictions on PPP to allow businesses 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to spend the money, and to allow more money to be spent on non-payroll expenses.
Since the program began, nearly 5 million businesses have received $520 billion in emergency loans.
The extension comes amid negotiations for another potential round of stimulus money.
The House passed a $3 trillion stimulus bill called the HEROES Act in May, which included money for state and local governments, and increased funding for the U.S. Postal Service, along with another $1,200 direct payment stimulus check. However, only one Republican -- Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. -- voted with Democrats in favor of the bill and Trump promised to veto it.
The White House has said that it needs to fully assess the impact of previous stimulus packages before discussions move forward on the next. The Congressional Budget Office said in mid-June that the first stimulus packages will add $1.72 trillion to the deficit over a course of a decade.
Formal negotiations are not expected to pick up again until after the July 4 recess.
Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday that he would support another direct round of stimulus checks.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., took issue with the stimulus package the House passed in May because he said that it provided another $1,200 stimulus check for Americans and undocumented immigrants alike.