President Donald Trump has signed a sweeping stimulus bill that would avert a government shutdown and infuse financial aid into the coronavirus-crippled United States economy.
A statement on Sunday from the White House showed that the relief package includes another round of direct payments to individuals as well as additional weekly unemployment benefits. It also provides loans to small businesses, assistance for renters and appropriations for coronavirus vaccine distribution, plus other provisions.
The $900 billion measure, which was paired with a $1.4 trillion bill to continue funding government agencies through September, did not include liability protections for businesses that were championed by Republicans or other Democrat-supported state and local funding.
“I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP [Paycheck Protection Program], return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution and much more,” Trump wrote yesterday.
Last week, the U.S. president objected to the legislation, which received bipartisan support from Congress following months of an impasse. The matter of contention was the amount of direct payments to individuals, which Trump had suggested lawmakers increase to $2,000 from the agreed-upon $600. (A family of four, he proposed, would receive $5,200.)
Although the signed stimulus bill did not include the larger stimulus checks, Trump announced in a statement yesterday that he expects Congress to vote on a separate proposal to increase those direct payments. The House of Representatives plan to vote on that legislation today.
What’s more, the president called on policymakers to remove what he called “wasteful spending” in the bill. He also said that he would send them a “redlined version, item by item,” of the list of provisions he wants eliminated from the package.
“Much more money is coming,” Trump added. “I will never give up my fight for the American people!”
As outlined in the bill, most Americans will receive direct payments of $600 — half of the $1,200 sent out as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act enacted in late March. Like the first round of checks, the size of the benefit would be reduced for people who earn more than $75,000 last year. Families will also receive $600 per child, compared with $500 in the first round.
In addition, an extension has been given to the unemployment programs set to expire at the end of December. According to officials, the new measure renews the additional $300 a week for the unemployed, which is less than the $600 provided under the CARES Act. The enhanced payments will be disbursed through March 14.