With little time left before the possible partial closure of US government offices, President Donald Trump signed into law a $ 2.3 trillion bill on Sunday evening, including an appropriation of $ 900 billion in COVID-19 pandemic relief and funding for work. government for the period up to September 2021 in the amount of $ 1.4 trillion.
Earlier, the president called “shame” the bill approved last week by the House of Representatives and the Senate after months of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, in which Trump did not take much part.
Trump’s objections to the bill surprised many; learning of the president’s reaction, the leaders of both parties urged him to sign the document.
If the president had not signed the bill, the partial closure of federal institutions would have begun on Tuesday. The increased benefits for the unemployed and restrictions on eviction by the court expired on Sunday morning.
“The signing of the bipartisan coronavirus (pandemic) relief bill, (bill) endorsed by both houses, is good news for fourteen million Americans who have just … lost their vital unemployment benefits … and for millions of people, with all their might trying to stay afloat during this historic crisis – a pandemic and an economic one, ”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released Sunday evening.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Trump’s move to prevent a shutdown at a time when the country cannot afford it.
“The bipartisan package … which Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration were negotiating about, extends pivotal avenues … vital for workers in struggling small businesses, renews top perks for out-of-work Americans, invests new billions in vaccine distribution … Compromise Bill is not perfect, but it will be of immense benefit … to the people of Kentucky and (all) Americans across the country who need help today, ”McConnell said in a statement.
In announcing the signing of the bill, Trump also announced that he was pushing for changes to the document designed to abolish what he called “devastating sections.”
This, however, is about proposals addressed to Congress, which should not necessarily lead to changes in the text of the document.
The president’s objections related to the amount of direct payments to the population, as well as the financing of foreign aid programs and scientific research.
“I told Congress that I saw fit to cut down on unnecessary spending significantly and give more money to American citizens in the form of checks of $ 2,000 per adult and $ 600 per child,” Trump said in a statement.
The bill provides for payments of $ 600 per person. Democrats also demanded higher payments, but Republicans opposed the idea.
“I’m signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, help tenants, add money to the business assistance program, get airline employees back to work, add substantially more money to distribute the vaccine, and more,” Trump added.
Democrats describe the aid package as only the first step in a larger anti-crisis program.
“There is a need to provide strong support to state and municipal governments to distribute and use the vaccine, keep jobs and prevent catastrophic cuts in services, and we must do this as soon as possible,” Pelosi said.
Congress will return to work on Monday, interrupting Christmas break to try to overcome the presidential veto on the $ 740 billion defense budget bill. The document also provides for an increase in the salaries of military personnel and determines the policy of the Pentagon on various issues.
The House vote is scheduled for Monday. If she approves the lifting of the veto, the Senate will be able to bring the issue to a vote as early as Tuesday. Overcoming the presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
The defense bill has raised a number of objections from Trump, including over a provision allowing military installations named after Confederate leaders to be renamed. The president also demanded to include in the document a clause on the abolition of protection for social networks from liability for user content.