An estimated 12 million people under two major pandemic unemployment programmes, which were due to receive their final payment this weekend, will now receive benefits for another 11 weeks. In addition, anyone receiving unemployment benefits receives a weekly federal increase of $300 until mid-March.
As Congress waited until the end of December to reach an agreement, those involved in the two unemployment pandemic programmes are likely to face several weeks of payment disruption while government institutions reprogram their computers. But the benefits are retroactive.
The Covid-19 Relief Act was adopted by Congress on Monday and was delivered to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, pending the trump’s signature. But after Trump was sidelined during the negotiations, a last-minute complaint emerged that a separate provision in the agreement, negotiated by the president’s own White House, would only offer a maximum of $600 in direct payments. Trump wanted to send 2,000 checks. Mr Trump also dislikes certain elements which in fact come from the total expenditure he has requested from Congress in his annual budget.
Trump said Sunday evening that he only signed the coronavirus bill after receiving an obligation from the Senate to consider a bill that would increase the incentive payment from $600 to $2,000. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, made no mention of the commitment in his own statement Sunday evening, congratulating the president on signing the bailout bill.
Last week, Speaker of the Lower House, Nancy Pelosi, at his request, arrested Trump for 2,000 cheques and submitted a separate bill Thursday that would have increased the amount of bailout cheques. However, Republicans in the House rejected the bill because of the deficit.
The House of Representatives, led by the Democratic Party, will vote on Monday to extend direct payments.
Pelosi called signing the president of the rescue bill good news for Americans whose benefits have expired, and said Sunday in a statement that Trump should immediately call Republicans to end their filibustering and join him and the Democrats in supporting our separate legislation to raise direct wages to $2,000.
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M. Trump also argued that the Senate would consider passing legislation to repeal section 230 and begin investigating electoral fraud, although it is not clear what that legislation would look like. There is no evidence of large-scale fraud in the November elections.
He vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act last week – which both houses of Congress passed with a vetoed majority – in part because of his frustration with Section 230, the law that holds Internet companies responsible for what they or third parties publish on their websites. The House of Representatives is expected to act on Monday to override Mr Trump’s veto. But the leader of the minority house, Kevin McCarthy, said that many Republicans would not vote to override the veto even if they voted for the bill itself, so it is not clear whether the attempt to overrule the bill will succeed or whether the veto will continue.
In Sunday’s statement, Trump also said he would ask Congress to cut certain expenditure items in Covid’s aid and financing package, a reference to his litany of complaints about foreign aid. However, apart from freezing new expenditure on these posts for 45 days, this motion will have no significant effect. Mr. Trump will step down before Congress can grant his requests.
Increased protection against unemployment and eviction
The rescue package expands two programs that were part of the historic expansion of the national unemployment system that Congress passed in late March as part of the $2 trillion CARES bill.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program provided 39 weeks of payments to independent contractors, freelancers and employees. It has also opened the programme to those who cannot work because of the pandemic, for example if they or their relatives are sick or in quarantine, or if their children’s schools are closed.
And the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program provided an additional 13-week federal payment for those no longer eligible for government benefits, which normally last 26 weeks. Technically, the programmes would have been available on the 31st. December’s over.
The third CARES measure – additional federal payments of $600 a week – expired at the end of July.
The new stimulus package extends two pandemic programmes by 11 weeks. Both closing on the 14th. March, but will continue until 5:00 p.m. April for existing applicants who have not yet reached the maximum number of weeks.
The aid package also extends protection against evictions until 31 December. January and provides USD 25 billion in funding for aid efforts.
The order of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to suspend certain evictions was due to expire at the end of the year. Since the injunction does not cancel or freeze the rent, all overdue rentals of the tenant would be due on the first day of the month. January would have been when the moratorium expired. Without a rent waiver or an extension of the term of protection, many working tenants would run the risk of being evicted again.
According to an analysis of Census Bureau data carried out by the Centre for Policy and Budget Priorities, 9.2 million tenants who lost income during the pandemic, or 23 percent of those tenants, are behind with their rent.
M. Trump signed the bill into law almost a week after calling it outrageous and asking Congress to amend it. The trump card complaints came only after Congress had adopted the bill with a veto-proof majority and after the president had endured weeks of negotiations.
The helpers were preparing for the signing of the bill by the president on Christmas Eve, when he arrived in Mar-a-Lago for the signing. But the plan was abandoned at the last minute, two sources who knew the circumstances told the CNN.
Prior to signing, the smaller of Mar-a-Lago’s two ballrooms was prepared for the 7-hour ceremony, with a table and chair for Trump to sit on and his usual pens ready, said the source.
However, as the hour approached, staff were informed that the President would not sign the draft discharge that evening. A source told CNN that Trump had changed his mind.
The country, Congress and many of Trump’s closest helpers and advisors were left in the dark about what he was going to do. He didn’t bring clarity after posting a video on Tuesday night in which he spoke out against the bill.
When the agreement between the congressional leaders was negotiated, Trump staff signed on believing the president, although two CNN officials told CNN that they did not believe he had revised the package in detail.
In fact, in his video message calling on Congress to change the law, Trump objected to several provisions that were part of the omnibus expenses law, not the Covid help bill.
This is the Covid aid law, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid, the president said at one point.
Although the omnibus spending law, which allocates money to all federal agencies for the rest of the fiscal year, was combined with the stimulus law, the money allocated to the omnibus law does not mean that there is less money available for the Covid support law.
Nevertheless, the president has publicly spoken out against legislation that leaves millions of Americans without assistance to small businesses, unemployment benefits and social services.
This story has been updated with additional information.
Paul LeBlanc of CNN contributed to this report.