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Trump’s refusal to sign COVID-19 relief bill endangers jobless aid for millions of Residents


Millions of Americans are about to see their jobless benefits expire on Saturday as U.S. President Donald Trump has so far refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, insisting that it did not do enough to help everyday people.

 

Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike when he said this week he was unhappy with the massive bill, which provides $892 billion in badly needed coronavirus relief, including extending special unemployment benefits expiring on Dec. 26, and $1.4 trillion for normal government spending.



Without Trump’s signature, about 14 million people could lose those extra benefits, according to Labor Department data. A partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday unless Congress can agree a stop-gap government funding bill before then.


Steve Holland in Palm Beach, Florida, Raphael Satter in Washington and others reported that after months of wrangling, Republicans and Democrats agreed to the package last weekend, with the support of the White House. Trump, who hands over power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, did not object to terms of the deal before Congress voted it through on Monday night. 


 

But since then he has complained that the bill gives too much money to special interests, cultural projects and foreign aid, while its one-time $600 stimulus checks to millions of struggling Americans were too small. He has demanded that it be raised to $2,000.



“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” the president tweeted on Saturday.


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His refusal to sign prompted sharp rebuke from Biden, who called on the outgoing Republican President to act immediately.


“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences; … This bill is critical. It needs to be signed into law now,” Biden said in a statement.


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