Sunday, December 27, 2020

President Trump Signs Covid-19 Emergency Relief Bill, Government Spending Bill, Avoiding Shut-Down

The White House said Sunday night that President Trump signed legislation for $900 billion in coronavirus economic aid and $1.4 trillion in government spending, averting a government shutdown and providing support for millions of Americans.

Mr. Trump signed the bill one day before the government was set to shut down – but not before unemployment benefits for an estimated 12 million Americans lapsed. 

"I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more," Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Mr. Trump added that he will be sending back a "redlined" version of the bill to address what he considers unnecessary funding. Additionally, he said the House will vote Monday on providing $2,000 relief checks to adults and $600 for children. The Senate will "start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000," he said. 

It's unclear what will happen to this version of the bill, since it would have to pass both houses of Congress, and Republicans in the Senate have blocked extra payments in the past. 

Congress passed the initial package on December 21. It had been agreed upon after negotiations that included members of Mr. Trump's own administration.

Congress passed the package on December 21. But in a surprise video posted to Twitter last week, Mr. Trump blasted the package, calling for larger stimulus payments and other changes. 

"I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 dollars for a couple," Mr. Trump said in the video. "I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package."

The economic package not only provides $600 in direct payments for adults making up to $75,000 per year and children – or $2,400 for a family of four – it also includes $284.45 billion in lending for small businesses, $25 billion in direct rental assistance, $82 billion for education funding, $45 billion for public transit systems and $13 billion for increased food stamps and child nutrition benefits. 

The bill also extends the eviction moratorium for another month. If it isn't passed, millions of renters who have fallen behind on their rent could face eviction.

The president is spending the Christmas holiday with his family at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

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