President Donald Trump signed a 900 billion dollar (£664 billion) pandemic relief package on Sunday, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.
The massive bill includes 1.4 trillion dollars (£1.03 trillion) to fund government agencies through to September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as money for cash-starved transit systems and an increase in food stamp benefits.
Mr Trump announced the signing in a statement that spoke of his frustrations with the Covid-19 relief for including only 600-dollar (£443) cheques to most Americans instead of the 2,000 dollars (£1,476) that his fellow Republicans rejected.
He also complained about what he considered unnecessary spending by the government at large. But Mr Trump’s eleventh-hour objections created turmoil because politicians had thought he was supportive of the bill, which had been negotiated for months with White House input.
“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,”
Mr Trump said in the statement.
While the president insisted he would send Congress “a redlined version” with items to be removed under the rescission process, those are merely suggestions to Congress. The bill, as signed, would not necessarily be changed.
Politicians now have breathing room to continue debating whether the relief cheques should be as large as the president has demanded. The Democratic-led House supports the larger cheques and is set to vote on the issue on Monday, but it is expected to be ignored by the Republican-held Senate where spending faces stern opposition.
Republicans and Democrats swiftly welcomed Mr Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law.
Published: 28/12/2020 by Radio NewsHub