Covid-19: Trump signs into law the relief and expense package

US President Donald Trump has passed a bill for coronavirus relief and spending packages, preventing a partial government shutdown.


Initially, Trump declined to sign the bill, claiming he prefered to give people bigger one-off payments.

Delay also indicated that millions of Americans have temporarily lost unemployment insurance.

The $900 billion relief package was accepted by Congress after months of negotiation.

It is part of the US$2.3 tn budget programme, which includes US$1.4 tn for regular federal government spending.

If Trump hadn’t signed the bill into law by midnight on Monday, a partial government shutdown would have begun unless the legislature passed a stopgap bill.

About 14 million Americans would have been affected by a lapse of unemployment insurance benefits and new stimulus checks. The unemployment benefits are now going to be reinstated.

Trump was under pressure from both sides of the Congress to sign the package into law.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey said the president risked being remembered for “chaos, misery and erratic behaviour”.

US President-elect Joe Biden warned of “devastating consequences” if Trump continued to delay signing.

In a strongly worded statement published on the transition website on Saturday, Biden described Trump’s refusal to sign the bill as an “abdication of responsibility”.

“It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” Biden said.


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