Million of Americans lost their unemployment benefits on Sunday as President Donald Trump refuses to sign a $900 billion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill passed by both chambers of Congress.
The unsigned bill provides aid for businesses and individuals struggling amid the pandemic and more money for vaccine distribution and education. The bill would activate a $300 weekly boost to unemployment benefits in the CARES Act.
What Does This Mean For Americans?
The package is the second major effort by Congress to help Americans struggling during a recession, following a stimulus law passed in March.
Trump’s resistance to signing the bill leaves millions of Americans without unemployment coverage from two federal jobless programs and threatens a government shutdown when funding runs out on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.
Roughly 9.5 million people were dependent on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that expired overnight.
Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, estimated that up to 14 million people would lose aid from the programs. Millions more would exhaust other jobless benefits within weeks without additional stimulus relief.
“For those who can’t get on another form of benefits the consequences will be swift and dangerous,” Stettner tweeted on Saturday.
“These are real families caught up in the maelstrom of the pandemic scouring for shelters to live in, postponing the purchase of lifesaving medicines, and going further and further into debt,” Stettner wrote.
Trump has criticized the relief bill’s $600 direct payments to Americans, demanding $2,000 checks instead. Republican lawmakers quickly shot down a Democrat proposition for the higher amount in a Christmas Eve vote. Trump has also rejected foreign aid aspects of the spending package.
“I simply want to get our great people $2,000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” Trump tweeted on Saturday from Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending the holidays at his resort. “Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork.’”
The president’s continued refusal to sign the bill would lead to the expiration of eviction protections, living millions of renters vulnerable,as well as a delay in crucial subsidies for businesses.
President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday condemned the president for delaying critical aid before unemployment benefits expired.
“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 in a statement.
“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences,” Biden said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Democratic lawmakers will vote on Monday for a standalone bill to provide $2,000 direct payments to Americans.
House Democrats on Monday are also expected to review a stop-gap measure to keep the government running until Biden is sworn into office. Biden has promised more stimulus relief after he is inaugurated.
- Million of Americans lost their unemployment benefits on Saturday as President Donald Trump has refuses to sign a major $900 billion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill passed by both chambers of Congress.
- Trump’s resistance to signing the bill threatens a federal government shutdown when funding runs out on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.
- Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, estimated that up to 14 million people would lose aid from unemployment assistance programs without the stimulus relief.