Millions of Americans lose Covid-19 unemployment payments after Trump resists signing aid package
His resistance to signing the Bill jeopardises other critical assistance for businesses and families set to lapse at the end of the year, and raises the possibility of a government shutdown on Tuesday
Millions of Americans have lost their Covid-19 unemployment payments after President Donald Trump resisted signing a sweeping $900 billion aid package into law.
Trump’s resistance to signing the Bill jeopardises other critical assistance for businesses and families set to lapse at the end of the year, and raises the possibility of a government shutdown on Tuesday.
In addition to freezing unemployment benefits, Trump’s lack of action on the Bill would lead to the expiration of eviction protections and put on hold a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants and theatres, along with money to help schools and vaccine distribution.
Trump is demanding that US politicians more than triple the size of relief cheques that are to be provided under the package, putting the fate of the measure in limbo. The end-of-year Covid-19 relief and spending bill had been considered a done deal before his sudden objections.
The package had won sweeping approval in both houses of Congress and after the White House assured Republican leaders that the President would support it.
Instead, he has assailed the bill’s plan to provide $600 Covid-19 relief cheques to most Americans — insisting it should be $2,000.
House Republicans swiftly rejected that idea during a rare Christmas Eve session, but Trump has not been swayed.
“I simply want to get our great people 2000, rather than the measly 600 that is now in the bill,” Trump tweeted from Palm Beach, where he is spending the Christmas holiday. “Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork’.”
US president-elect Joe Biden called on Trump to sign the Bill immediately as the two federal programmes were set to expire on Saturday. “It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” Biden said.
“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Trump has been spending his final days in office golfing and angrily tweeting as he refuses to accept his loss to Biden in the November 3rd election.
On Saturday, he again lashed out at members of his own party for failing to join his quest to try to overturn the results of the election with baseless claims of mass voter fraud that have been repeatedly rejected by the courts.
“If a Democrat Presidential Candidate had an Election Rigged & Stolen, with proof of such acts at a level never seen before, the Democrat Senators would consider it an act of war, and fight to the death,” he railed.