Trump signs virus aid bill after performing $ 600 stimulus checks by Bloomberg

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© Bloomberg. US President Donald Trump salutes as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House after leaving Marine One in Washington, D.C., United States on Sunday, November 29, 2020. Photographer: Chris Kleponis / Polaris / Bloomberg

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(Bloomberg) – President Donald Trump signed a bill containing $ 900 billion in pandemic relief, the White House said, triggering the flow of aid to individuals and businesses and avoiding the risk of partial shutdown government Tuesday.

In addition to helping stem the economic effects of the pandemic, legislation passed by Congress on Monday also includes $ 1.4 trillion in government spending to fund federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year in September. . The government was operating with a temporary spending authority that expires after the end of the day on Monday.

The combined $ 2.3 trillion package was the product of intense negotiations, which Trump was largely absent from until he surprised lawmakers on both sides by demanding larger stimulus payments for individuals after the adoption of the bill.

Trump said in the statement announcing the signing that the GOP Senate had agreed to vote on the increase in individual payments by $ 600 and two other unrelated social media issues and his unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

His delay in signing means these aid payments are likely to be later than what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had promised and could cut extra unemployment benefits that were part of the package and are expected to end in March by a week. .

The virus relief program will likely be the last major law signed by Trump, whose re-election hopes have been dashed largely due to his handling of the pandemic.

President-elect Joe Biden has said he will push for even more stimulus after he takes office early next year, but it’s still unclear whether Republicans in Congress would agree. Senate scrutiny will be determined by the outcome of two polls in Georgia on January 5.

Lawmakers approved the government funding and the additional relief at the last possible moment before they left Washington for a year-end hiatus. Business leaders have called on Congress to pass more stimulus for months, saying restaurants, theaters, mom-and-dad stores and airlines were decimated by closures and restrictions as cases of Covid-19 were increasing in the United States

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a relief deal on Sunday after more than a week of frenzied talks sparked by a bipartisan group of senators who drafted their own compromise proposal and urged their leaders to act. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, representing the administration, also participated in the talks.

Trump even surprised his fellow Republicans on Tuesday by tweeting a video saying he wanted Congress to increase the amount of stimulus payments for individuals to $ 2,000, from $ 600 in the bill passed by Congress. He also complained about federal spending on foreign aid and international programs, even though these funds were allocated as part of the bipartisan process of appropriations to finance the government.

(Updates with signature starting in the first paragraph)

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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