President Donald Trump has signed a pandemic relief package of $900 billion, ending days of drama over his refusal to embrace the bipartisan agreement that would provide corporations and individuals with long-sought cash and avert a shutdown by the federal government.
The huge bill provides $1.4 trillion to finance government departments through September and includes other goals for the end of the session, such as an increase in benefits from food stamps.
At his private club in Florida, the signing Sunday came in the midst of escalating outrage over his eleventh-hour requests for bigger, $2,000 relief checks and scaled-back spending, even though the bill had already been approved by broad margins by the House and Senate. The bill was approved with what lawmakers had thought was Trump’s approval, only after months of talks with his administration.
For millions trying to make ends meet, his foot-dragging culminated in a lapse in unemployment insurance and threatened a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic… But signing the bill into law avoids another crisis of Trump’s own making and, during the final days of his presidency, ends a standoff with his own party.
It was uncertain what Trump achieved with his delay, if anything, beyond angering all sides and encouraging Democrats to continue their drive for greater relief checks that are resisted by his own party.
In his speech, Trump reiterated his frustrations with the COVID-19 relief bill for supplying most Americans with just $600 checks instead of the $2,000 already rejected by his fellow Republicans. He also protested about what he considered the government at large to be wasteful expenditure.
With a strong message that makes clear to Congress that unnecessary things need to be eliminated, I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package,” Trump said in the statement.”
Although the President insisted that “a redlined version” will be submitted to Congress with things to be excluded under the rescission process, those are merely recommendations to Congress. The bill will not actually be altered, assigned.
Democrats, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, instantly promised to stop any cuts. Democrats “will reject any rescissions” submitted by the President, said Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., of the Appropriations Committee. , in a declaration.
Lawmakers now have breathing space to begin exploring whether the relief reviews should be as broad as requested by the president. The Democratic-led House supports larger checks and is scheduled to vote on the issue on Monday, but the Republican-held Senate, where spending faces resistance, is likely to ignore it. For now, the administration will only begin work sending out the $600 payments.
The decision by Trump to sign the bill into law was immediately welcomed by Republicans and Democrats.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said, “The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do a tremendous amount of good for battling Kentuckians and Americans around the nation who need support now. “For signing this relief into law, I thank the President.”
“Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Speaker, called the signing “welcome news for the 14 million Americans who have just lost the lifeline of Christmas weekend unemployment insurance, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat through this historic pandemic and economic crisis.
But some blasted the delay by Trump in turning the bill into law. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., accused Trump of ‘playing Russian roulette with American lives’ in a tweet. For him, a familiar and comfortable location.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would deliver a vote in the Senate for Trump’s $2,000 check plan, putting Republicans on the spot.
The House is going to pass a bill to send $2,000 checks to Americans. “Schumer tweeted, “Then I can go on to approve it in the Senate. “No Democrats are going to object. Republicans in the Senate? ”
If President-elect Joe Biden takes office, Democrats are promising more help to come, but Republicans are signaling a wait-and-see approach.
With the House set to vote to overturn Trump’s veto of an annual must-pass Security bill, Congress will press forward Monday, challenging the president on another major problem in the final days of the session. On Tuesday, the Senate is scheduled to comply.
Lawmakers spent Sunday urging Trump to sign the legislation immediately in the face of increasing economic distress, spreading disease, and a looming shutdown, then have Congress follow up with additional assistance. In addition to unemployment insurance and family relief payments, funding for the delivery of vaccinations, enterprises, and more was on the line. Protections from evictions hung in the balance as well.
“It’s incredibly cruel what the president is doing right now,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. “They’re hurting so many people. … It’s crazy, and this president finally has to… do the best thing for the American people and stop thinking about his ego.”
Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said he recognized that Trump “wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is that if he allows this to expire, he will be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior.”
Toomey added: “So, as I said, I think the best thing to do is sign this and then make the case for subsequent laws.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who has denounced Trump’s pandemic response and his efforts to reverse the election outcome, reiterated the same claim. He said, “I just gave up guessing what he might be doing next.”
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said too much is at stake to “play this old switcheroo game” for Trump.
“The point I don’t get,” he said. “Why, I don’t understand what’s being done, unless it’s just about creating chaos and showing power and getting angry because you lost the election.”
Since Trump had turned on the offer, Washington had been reeling. Fingers pointed to officials of the administration, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as legislators sought to grasp whether they were deceived about the status of Trump.
Now to be put in a lurch, it’s only shocking after the president’s own person arranged something the president doesn’t like,” Kinzinger said.”
Kinzinger commented on “State of the Union” on CNN, and Hogan and Sanders on “This Week” on ABC.