Trump signs coronavirus relief bill, still pushes for $2,000 stimulus checks – Boston Herald

President Trump on Sunday signed the coronavirus relief package that will boost unemployment benefits and avert a government shutdown, while he also continued to push for $2,000 stimulus checks instead of the $600 checks in the bill.

Trump signed the coronavirus relief bill and government-funding measure, a source told The Associated Press Sunday evening. The news about Trump approving the package came after the president said “good news” was coming about the bill.

“Good news on Covid Relief Bill,” Trump tweeted Sunday evening. “Information to follow!”

Trump in a statement said he’s signing the bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for the Payment Protection Program for small businesses, get airline workers back to work, add money for vaccine distribution, and more.

“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” Trump said in a statement.

“On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000,” he added. “Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200.”

Legislators have been pressing Trump to sign the bill as jobless benefits expired and as the federal government faces a shutdown deadline of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the $600 direct payments would start arriving a few days after Christmas, but that timeline is now unlikely. Trump has been sticking to his 11th-hour push for $2,000 stimulus checks.

Lawmakers on Sunday, including Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, urged Trump to sign the bill.

“Time’s running out,” Toomey said on Fox News. “I understand the president would like to send bigger checks to everybody. I think what he ought to do is sign this bill and then make the case. Congress can pass another bill.”

Trump’s signing of the coronavirus relief package came as jobless aid expired on Saturday for millions of Americans through the the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. That program made unemployment insurance available to freelancers, gig workers and others who were normally not eligible.

Days ago, Democrats said they would call House lawmakers back to Washington for a vote Monday on Trump’s proposal to send out $2,000 relief checks, instead of the $600 approved by Congress.

Washington has been reeling since Trump turned on the deal, without warning, after it had won sweeping approval in both houses of Congress and after the White House had assured Republican leaders that Trump would support it. Instead, he assailed the bill’s plan to provide $600 relief checks to most Americans — insisting it should be $2,000.

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said the president not signing the bill is “unbelievably cruel.”

“Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits,” Sanders said on ABC’s This Week. “They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending.”

“There’s money in that bill, and this president is diddling around and he may actually veto it,” Sanders said, later adding, “Yes, we do need to get $2,000 out to every working-class individual in this country, but you can’t diddle around with the bill. Sign the bill, Mr. President, and then immediately we can pass a $2,000 direct payment.”

Herald wire services were used in this report.


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