West Palm Beach, December 27
Unemployment benefits for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet lapsed overnight as President Donald Trump refused to signed an end-of-year Covid relief and spending Bill that had been considered a done deal before his sudden objections.
The fate of the bipartisan package remained in limbo Sunday as Trump continued to demand larger Covid relief checks and complained about “pork” spending. Without the widespread funding provided by the massive measure, a government shutdown would occur when money runs out at 12:01 am Tuesday.
Prez defends move
I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the Bill. —Donald Trump, US President
Washington has been reeling since Trump turned on the deal after it had won sweeping approval in both houses of Congress and after the White House had assured Republican leaders that Trump would support it.
Instead, he assailed the Bill’s plan to provide $600 Covid relief checks to most Americans — insisting it should be $2,000. House Republicans swiftly rejected that idea during a rare Christmas Eve session. But Trump has not been swayed in spite of the nation being in the grip of a pandemic.
“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the Bill,” Trump tweeted on Saturday from Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending the holiday. “Also, stop the billions of dollars in pork.” President-elect Joe Biden called on Trump to sign the Bill immediately as the midnight Saturday deadline neared for two federal programmes providing unemployment aid. “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’s refusal to sign an economic relief Bill,” he added. — AP