U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday night signed the government spending and COVID-19 relief package into law, averting a government shutdown and delivering aid to individuals and businesses as the pandemic worsens.
Trump signed off the 2.3-trillion-U.S.-dollar spending package days after he asked Congress to remove wasteful items in the bill and boost the amount of stimulus checks to 2,000 dollars for individuals, up from 600 dollars. The president had threatened not to sign the bill if changes were not made.
With the signing, the federal government avoids a shutdown due on Tuesday. “I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Trump said in a statement released Sunday night by the White House.
“I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” he said.
Trump also said he expects the Congress to vote on separate legislation to increase stimulus checks to 2,000 dollars. “On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from 600 to 2,000 dollars. Therefore, a family of four would receive 5,200 dollars,” he said.
The Senate will also “start the process” to vote on legislation to increase stimulus checks, repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and investigate alleged voter fraud, Trump said.
“Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech (U.S. tech giants including Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google) at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed,” said the president.
Trump signed the legislation under pressure from lawmakers of both parties after federal unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans on Saturday.
Now the relief package has been signed, it would extend federal unemployment benefits by 300 dollars each week for existing recipients through mid-March. “Mr. President, we are asking you to please sign the emergency relief bill.
This act will show your support for the American people who are in need of emergency lifelines like food, shelter, unemployment benefits and small business relief during these challenging times,” a bipartisan group of lawmakers said earlier Sunday in a statement.
“However, if your objection to the COVID-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately. You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late,” the group said.
The House of Representatives and Senate both approved the 900-billion-dollar relief package last week with overwhelming bipartisan support, along with 1.4 trillion dollars in government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2021.