West Palm Beach, United States:
US President Donald Trump on Sunday promised “good news” on a massive Covid-19 relief bill he had not yet signed, but did not provide any further details as millions of Americans battling through the pandemic with the loss faced unemployment benefits.
“Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!” The president tweeted without elaborating on it during his Christmas vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
For almost a week, Trump refused to sign the $ 900 billion aid package, which was overwhelmingly approved by Congress after months of negotiations, calling it a “disgrace”.
According to the Century Foundation think tank, two federal unemployment benefit programs approved in March expired at midnight on Saturday, which were approved as part of an initial Covid relief plan. That cut off an estimated 12 million Americans.
The delay also threatened to provoke a government shutdown by Tuesday as the bailout package is part of a larger spending bill, though lawmakers could approve another temporary extension to keep the government open.
The aid package passed by Congress on December 21 would extend these and other benefits that will expire in the coming days.
However, Trump has pushed for the bill’s $ 600 direct payments to US taxpayers to be more than tripled, arguing that the legislation includes too much excessive spending on unrelated programs.
He didn’t say why he waited until the bill had already been approved to make his views known.
President-elect Joe Biden, due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 after defeating Trump in the November election, warned Saturday of “devastating consequences” if the president continued his rejection.
– “Chaos and misery” –
The previous Sunday, some Republicans urged Trump to change course, noting that the bill was the result of careful compromises.
“I understand he wants to be remembered for campaigning for big checks, but the risk is that if he lets this expire, he will be remembered for chaos, misery and unpredictable behavior,” said Republican Senator Pat Toomey on Sunday told Fox News.
Trump has not specifically said whether he will veto the bill.
Congress could theoretically override its veto, although it is unclear whether Republicans would challenge it to that extent.
Another possibility would be for Trump to simply do nothing, leading to a “pocket veto” as the current session of Congress ends and a new one begins on January 3rd.
Democrats in Congress on Thursday looked for a measure to increase direct payments in line with Trump’s wishes, but Republicans blocked it.
It was largely viewed as a theatrical movement with little hope of a passage to expose the divide between Republicans and the outgoing president.
Senator Bernie Sanders said on Sunday, “What the president is doing right now is incredibly cruel.”
“Many millions of people are losing their expanded unemployment benefits,” he said on ABC.
“They are being evicted from their homes because the eviction moratorium is ending.”
Sanders urged Trump to sign the bill, saying that increased direct payments could be approved in the coming days.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)