After Much Delay, Donald Trump Signs US COVID-19 Relief
President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill on Sunday.
After delaying for nearly a week, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill on Sunday, 27 December, extending benefits to millions of Americans struggling through the pandemic.
Millions of Americans were close to losing their jobless benefits as US President Donald Trump had refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package.
He argued that the Bill did not do enough to help people everyday.
What Does the Bill Entail?
The Bill, which provides $892 billion as coronavirus relief, includes extending special unemployment benefits, expiring on 26 December, and $1.4 trillion for normal government spending.
“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.”US President Donald Trump
Other than unemployment benefits and relief payments to families, money for vaccine distribution, protections against evictions, businesses, and cash-starved public transit systems is on the line. The programme will make unemployment insurance available to freelancers, gig workers and others who are usually not eligible.
Stock markets in Asia ticked upwards after the news that Trump had signed the Bill, and US stock futures rose 0.4 percent.
Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, welcomed the move.
A partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday as Trump will be handing over power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on 20 January.
Why Was Trump Objecting?
About 14 million people are on the verge of losing access to these extra benefits, according to Labor Department data. It took months of negotiations before the Republicans and Democrats agreed to the relief package.
The Bill includes a payment of $600 to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year. Trump said he wanted Americans to receive $2,000, but Republicans in Congress refused to agree to the change.
"Why would politicians not want to give people $2,000, rather than only $600?...Give our people the money!" the President tweeted on Christmas Day. US President-elect Joe Biden had warned of "devastating consequences" if Trump delayed the signing of the Bill further.
Judd Deere, Deputy Assistant to US President Trump, tweeted on Sunday confirming he had signed H.R. 133, an Act making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending 30 September 2021, providing coronavirus emergency response and relief, and for other purposes.
“The President is sending a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. Sending back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” he tweeted.
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