December 28th, 2020
Trump signs COVID relief and government funding bill; Efforts still underway for $2,000 stimulus checks
President Trump, on Sunday night, signed a $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law.This averts a government shutdown that was set to begin on Tuesday.Because Trump did not sign the bill before the end of day Saturday, an estimated 14 million Americans have likely lost a week’s worth of $300 unemployment benefits and the 11
weeks of payments have been shortened to 10 weeks. The bill states the $300 unemployment will be paid through March 14. States cannot provide benefits for weeks that precede the approval of the bill.
Congress passed the COVID relief package on Monday last week.Both sides of the aisle pointed out the absurdity of passing a 6,000 page bill with only hours to know what's in it. Both conservatives and liberals decried it. However, Speaker Pelosi had ample time to present a relief bill since the summer, but stymied any attempt until after the election in hopes of damaging Trump politically. Democrats presented a relief bill in September that they reduced from the bill that passed the House in May, due to Republican spending concerns. Stimulus talks were put on hold prior to the election as Republicans rushed to confirm Amy Coney Barrett in October and after McConnell revealed that he warned the White House not to strike an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The relief package costs $900 billion, and comes after months of negotiations.It's important to note that the omnibus bill included both a stimulus plan and a budgetary plan. A meme that traveled through social media made it look as though the stimulus plan was covering things like foreign aid, but those were in the budgetary spending bill. This was noted by President Trump and by the afore-mentioned addition from the right in this article. Why would wasteful pork spending in the main budgetary plan still be allowed when we need funds (that already don't exist) to be maximized toward giving Americans direct relief?
The relief package includes $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits for 11 weeks.Also, the $900 billion package extends eviction protection and offers $25 billion in rental assistance.
The package includes $600 in stimulus checks as well.
Though Trump signed the $900 billion package, he is in favor of sending $2,000 in stimulus checks.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly jumped on board in support of the $2,000 stimulus checks, as the Democrats pushed for larger checks in both of their stimulus plans from May and September. The $600 was a compromise with Republicans, led McConnell, who in early December did not want to include individual stimulus checks at all, but rather only provide small business support and extend unemployment at $300 per week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also wants $2,000 in stimulus checks for Americans.To be clear, although both President Trump and Speaker Pelosi appear to be on the same page, Trump clearly pointed out that he wanted to create the funds for the increased stimulus check from cutting needless pork that was added into the overall bill. He gave several examples of wasteful spending that should not at all be necessary in a pandemic. Last week, she introduced a standalone bill to boost the amount for stimulus checks.On Thursday, Dec. 24., House Republicans shot down the $2000 standalone bill. However, with a full House today, Democrats expect the new stimulus to pass the House this evening. However, the bill may struggle to get through the Republican-led Senate. The House is expected to vote on this standalone bill sometime this week.
In a statement on Sunday, Pelosi asked Trump to "immediately call" on Republicans "to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000.While against tax cuts, Democrats are touting an increase in direct payments. Although it seems counterintuitive, the difference lies in payments not requiring congress to cut wasteful spending mid-pandemic. The national debt is so high, America's children's children cannot even pay it back; there is no built-in restraint in our system, but rather incentives to spend. While both parties are culpable, Republicans at least attempt limits. Democrats clearly don't mind."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not mention anything about $2,000 stimulus checks or boosting stimulus checks amount, in his statement Sunday night.
The $900 billion package doesn’t include liability protection for businesses, as well as aid to state and local governments.