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Home / US / Trump signs Covid-19 aid bill to avoid government shutdown

Trump signs Covid-19 aid bill to avoid government shutdown



WASHINGTON-President Trump signed a comprehensive pandemic AIDS assistance bill on Sunday night, ending the stalemate with Congress, and supporting millions of people as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country. The Americans paved the way for financial relief.

After Congress gained overwhelming bipartisan support, Mr. Trump opposed the legislation last week. He said that legislators need to increase the amount of direct payments to Americans to $2,000, and the adjusted total income per adult and child is $600. Annual income is less than $75,000.

He signed the legislation under pressure from legislators from both sides. In a statement, the president called on Congress to cancel the so-called wasteful expenditures in the bill, and said that he would send members of Congress a list of terms he wished to cancel, and Democrats said they would stop it.

The president also said that he hopes Congress will vote on separate legislation to increase direct payments to $2,000. The House of Representatives is already planning to vote on such bills on Monday. Mr. Trump said that the Senate will “start the process”

; to vote on legislation to increase direct payments, withdraw Section 230 of the Communications Act, and investigate suspected voter fraud.

The latest Covid-19 aid bill

Trump said: “There will be more money.” “I will never give up fighting for the American people!”

When asked about the legislation Trump said the Senate would consider, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Mary McConnell) declined to comment. The Senate is scheduled to return on Tuesday, and Mr. McConnell may speak at that time.

McConnell said in a statement: “I thank the President for signing this relief as a law and signing the government’s legislation throughout the year.” “His leadership prevented the government from shutting down when our country cannot afford it. .”

The President argued that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are using Section 230 to suppress conservative voices on the platform. They deny the allegations, although when the president disputes the election results, social media sites often mark the president’s position as unproven. Mr. Trump also asserted that the 2020 election was full of voter fraud, but his allies did not provide evidence of widespread fraud. Attorney General William Barr said that the Department of Justice has not found fraud that would affect the election results. election.

The huge year-end package signed by the President includes a $1.4 trillion bill to continue to provide government funds for September. Trump said this measure includes wasted foreign aid spending.

Mr. Trump said he would use the 1974 Confinement Act to temporarily freeze funds. According to data from the U.S. Congressional Research Bureau, the law allows Mr. Trump to send a proposal to lawmakers to withdraw certain funds and then freeze those funds for up to 45 days. This calculation method takes into account the situation when Congress meets. . The 45-day clock will begin with a new session of Congress on January 3.

Mr. Trump is unlikely to be able to use the law to keep these funds permanently, especially since President-elect Joe Biden will soon be established. A Democratic aide said that the House of Representatives will ignore Mr. Trump’s request to cancel funding.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in the United States, the President’s decision to sign the bill limits the uncertainty and chaos in Washington that lasts for several days. Experts are concerned about the increase in hospitalization in many parts of the country. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 332,000 people have died from the virus in the United States.

The Democrats support Mr. Trump’s call for increased contributions. The House of Representatives tried to get unanimous agreement to pass a bill on Thursday, and if it fails, it will vote on the bill on Monday. It is not clear when the Senate will take measures.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy said: “Now, the President must immediately call on the Republicans in Congress to stop their obstruction and work with him and the Democrats to support our independent legislation to increase the direct payment check to $2,000, which will be put to a vote tomorrow. .” Pelosi (D., California) said in a statement. “Every Republican vote on this bill is a vote that refuses to deny the financial difficulties faced by the family and the relief that the American people need.”

In recent days, Republican lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) lobbied Mr. Trump to sign the bill.

Last weekend, two unemployment assistance programs related to the pandemic lapsed and will be restarted after Mr. Trump signs the bill, but experts say that payments are likely to be delayed. The first plan provides unemployment benefits for show and contract workers and others who are not normally eligible for unemployment assistance. The second plan provides up to 13 weeks of additional payment for others who have exhausted other plans (such as regular state unemployment benefits).

According to data from the Department of Labor, approximately 14 million people received benefits through these pandemic relief programs in early December, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the people currently receiving unemployment benefits.

The bill also extends the maximum number of weeks a person can apply for unemployment benefits to 50 weeks. It provides an additional subsidy of $100 per week for workers who have both wages and self-employment income but whose basic unemployment benefits do not take their self-employment income into account.

It also provides supplementary benefits of up to $300 a week for unemployed Americans, which is a reduction from the $600 weekly subsidy approved in April, which ends in the summer.

This legislation lasts until January 2021, when the federal government bans evictions and provides $25 billion in assistance to tenants who are in arrears. It also contains billions of dollars to help airlines, small businesses, entertainment venues and farms, and funds used to help Americans get vaccinated from the virus.

President Bush disputed the level of spending in the $1.4 trillion bill, which was designed to maintain government funding until September next year and chose foreign aid funds. This 5593-page year-end package includes funds for government programs and foreign aid.

The legislation allocated US$55.5 billion for freely disposable funds for overseas operations including the fight against terrorism, an increase of US$820 million over the previous year and US$10.8 billion higher than the president’s request.

About 26.5 billion U.S. dollars will go abroad for development assistance, global health plans and humanitarian assistance. This amount is an increase of US$527 million over the previous year’s allocation. Most of these funds fulfilled bilateral commitments between the United States and foreign countries. The Trump administration requires most of the aid in the president’s budget.

As the President made this decision, lawmakers were still struggling to deal with Trump’s veto of another $740.5 billion defense policy bill. The president vetoed the bill because the clause involved the cancellation of allies abroad. The basic and military level, as well as the lack of legislative language to revoke the broad immunity of Internet platforms from the content posted by users on their sites.

The House of Representatives plans on Monday to vote against Trump’s veto power on defense policy legislation. If the House of Representatives passes the overthrow as expected, the Senate plans to return to the meeting on Tuesday to vote on the issue, which may be the first time Congress overthrows Trump’s veto.

Representative Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) said in an interview with CNN: “This is a great bill. This is after China and Russia have vigorously strengthened our cyber defenses. As we have seen, this Very fragile.” Sunday. “In order to maintain the president’s veto power after voting for the bill, I just don’t understand.”

Write to Natalie.Andrews@wsj.com at Natalie Andrews and Andrew.Restuccia@wsj.com at Andrew Restuccia

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