Trump signs $900 billion Covid relief bill

President Donald Trump signed a bill containing $900 billion in pandemic relief, according to a Republican familiar with the matter, triggering the flow of aid to individuals and businesses and averting the risk of a partial government shutdown on Tuesday.

Staff Writer
Updated28 Dec 2020, 08:36 AM IST
President Donald Trump signed a bill containing $900 billion in pandemic relief
President Donald Trump signed a bill containing $900 billion in pandemic relief(AP)

President Donald Trump signed a bill containing $900 billion in pandemic relief, according to a Republican familiar with the matter, triggering the flow of aid to individuals and businesses and averting the risk of a partial government shutdown on Tuesday.

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

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The combined $2.3 trillion package was the product of intense negotiations, from which Trump was largely absent until he voiced his concerns about the amount of stimulus payments to individuals after the bill was already passed.

Sunday evening, after a rare day of being mostly silent on Twitter, Trump posted that “good news” was coming on the Covid relief bill, raising hopes that he planned to sign the legislation he’d criticized for days.

Earlier, Republican Senator Pat Toomey said Trump risked being remembered for creating “chaos and misery” at the end of his term if he takes no action on two crucial and intertwined spending bills and triggers a government shutdown.

The Trump administration helped negotiate the stimulus effort, and if the president believes direct stimulus checks should be increased, he should approve the current proposal and return to Congress with a request for more aid, Pennsylvania’s Toomey said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The $2,000-per-person checks demanded by Trump are too high for people who haven’t lost income as a result of Covid-19, Toomey said, making the case for more targeted aid.

“I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire,” Toomey said. “The best thing to do is sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation.”

Trump has taken no action on the stimulus bill that Congress approved last week, beyond expressing his displeasure with a series of tweets and videos over the past few days.

A group of bipartisan lawmakers, the “908 coalition,” released a statement saying Trump must either sign the emergency relief bill, or veto it outright -- at which point Congress could attempt to override the veto.

“If your objection to the Covid-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately. You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late,” the lawmakers said.

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First Published:28 Dec 2020, 08:36 AM IST
HomeNewsWorldTrump signs $900 billion Covid relief bill

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