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Donald Trump signs Covid-19 Relief and Government Funding Bill – Deadline

President Donald Trump signed a massive $ 2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill, ending several days of Christmas season drama as he balked at the legislation.

The White House said Trump signed the bill on Sunday night in Mar-a-Lago, after complaining about some of its spending arrangements and that Covid-19 direct payments were only 600 dollars per person.

Trump’s decision to sign the bill avoids a government shutdown, with funding due to expire Monday night. But unemployment benefits for millions of people expired on Saturday night.

In a statement, Trump said he would “return a red version [of the bill]article by article, accompanied by the formal cancellation request to Congress insisting that the funds be withdrawn from the bill. But presidents have no veto power over items – invoices that land on their desks must be signed or rejected in full – so his request is purely symbolic.

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On Monday, the House will vote on Trump’s proposal to increase payments to $ 2,000 per person, and the Senate will “kick off the process” for a vote on increasing relief checks.

The massive bill contained a number of provisions of particular interest to the entertainment industry, including a $ 15 billion fund to help legitimate theaters and cinemas and live entertainment venues particularly affected by the pandemic. Improved unemployment benefits will also be extended by an additional $ 300 per week, and the paycheck protection program will be renewed. Another provision would increase penalties for operating a pirated streaming service, among a host of new laws included in the legislation.

In his Sunday statement, Trump said: “I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for P3s, fire our airline workers at work, add a lot more money for the distribution of vaccines, and much more. more.”

Trump’s decision not to sign the bill generated a weekend of anxiety, given the implications of a government shutdown and a lack of stimulus to propel the pandemic economy.

After the House and Senate passed the legislation by an overwhelming majority last week, Trump released a video statement attacking the bill, calling his out-of-pocket payments of $ 600 per person insufficient and ridiculing some of the related provisions. to expenses. He never explicitly said he would veto the legislation, an act that would have jeopardized a much-needed extension of unemployment benefits and a host of other provisions in a $ 900 billion expenditure. for the relief of Covid-19.

Trump’s attacks on the bill came as a surprise, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was involved in negotiations on the bill. The president also attacked some of the government spending – like $ 40 million for the Kennedy Center – that the administration had previously supported and requested.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: “Now the President must immediately call on Republicans in Congress to end their filibustering and join him and the Democrats in supporting our stand-alone legislation to increase the direct payment checks to $ 2000, which will be brought upstairs tomorrow. Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardships families face and to deny the American people the relief they need.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement that did not address Trump’s delay in signing the law. McConnell said, “I welcome President Trump’s decision to get hundreds of billions of dollars in crucial COVID-19 relief and into the hands of American families as quickly as possible. He did not say when and if the Senate would accept the payments of $ 2,000.

In his statement, Trump also said the Senate would consider two issues that have been a constant source of his complaint: Section 230, the accountability shield that protects tech platforms from the way they moderate content; and voter fraud, which he repeatedly raised following his loss in this year’s election. So far, however, dozens of judges have dismissed his campaign’s claims that the election was rigged, citing a lack of evidence.

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