After US President Donald Trump refused to sign the $2.3 trillion pandemic relief and spending bill, millions of Americans saw their unemployment benefits expire on Saturday and protested the bill Not enough to help daily life.
Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike when he said this week he was unhappy with the massive bill, which provides $892 billion in badly needed coronavirus relief, including extending special unemployment benefits expiring on Dec. 26, and $1.4 trillion for normal government spending.
According to data from the Labor Department, without Trump’s signature, approximately 14 million people may lose these extra benefits. Unless Congress can reach an expedient government funding bill before then, the partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday.
After months of disputes, Republicans and Democrats agreed to the plan last weekend with the support of the White House. Trump, who handed over power to the Democratic president-elect Biden on January 20, did not oppose the terms of the deal before Congress voted to pass it on Monday night.
But since then he has complained that the bill gives too much money to special interests, cultural projects and foreign aid, while its one-time $600 stimulus checks to millions of struggling Americans were too small. He has demanded that be raised to $2,000.
“Why would politicians not want to give people $2,000, rather than only $600?…Give our people the money!” the billionaire president tweeted on Christmas Day, much of which he spent golfing at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Many economists agree the bill’s aid is too low but say the immediate support is still welcome and necessary.
A source familiar with the situation said Trump’s objection to the bill caught many White House officials by surprise. While the outgoing president’s strategy for the bill remains unclear, he has not vetoed it and could still sign it in coming days.
On Saturday, he was originally scheduled to stay in Mar-a-Lago, and the bill has been sent there, waiting for his decision. Biden was rejected by Trump in the November 3 election, but he is spending a holiday in his hometown of Delaware, and no public events were scheduled on Saturday.