Congress officially began sending a massive Covid-19 relief deal and government funding package to the president Donald Trump, who has not yet said whether he will sign it.
Covid relief provides about $ 900 billion in spending on programs to support businesses and individuals suffering as a result of the recession caused by the public health crisis, in addition to spending on measures to help contain the virus.
The government funding aspects of the bill account for about $ 1.4 trillion and are needed to keep the government from closing from Monday.
“The two-party bill for COVID relief and omnibus has been signed up,” House President Nancy Pelosi, D-California, wrote in a Twitter post. “The House and Senate are now sending this important #ForThePeople piece of legislation to the White House for the President’s signature. We urge him to sign this bill for immediate relief for hard-working families!”
The bill will be flown to Palm Beach, Florida, and is expected to depart at 6 p.m. 16.00 ET, a senior Senate Republican aide told NBC News.
The president, who is at his Florida resort in Mar-a-Lago, threw a wrench into the legislators ’month-long efforts to reach an agreement on Covid-19 relief on Tuesday, a day after the legislation passed both chambers of Congress.
Trump said the $ 600 direct payments approved by the bill were too small and demanded that the size of the checks be increased to $ 2,000. The president also questioned parts of the government funding proposal related to foreign aid. He did not specifically threaten the veto.
These remarks surprised both parties’ legislators. Trump, who did not take part in the recent negotiations leading to that bipartisan agreement, was widely expected to sign the bill. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin led White House negotiations on Covid relief.
In a last-minute attempt to save the deal, Democrats in Parliament on Thursday tried to increase the size of direct payments to $ 2,000, in line with Trump’s demands. The Republicans in the House tried to get Congress to look again at foreign aid aspects of the spending package. Both moves, which took place in a short pro forma session, failed.
The coronavirus legislation would be the second major effort by Congress to provide a lifeline to those economically affected by the downturn, following the legislation passed in March.
In addition to the $ 600 payments to most Americans, the bill would provide a federal unemployment rate of $ 300 per month. Week, expand the federal moratorium on evictions and provide nearly $ 9 billion. $ For ongoing vaccine distribution efforts.
While Congress could potentially override a presidential veto, it is not clear that it would. And some provisions are designed to sustain programs that could end in the coming days while Trump decides whether to approve the legislation. For example, up to 12 million people are currently losing unemployment benefits on Saturday the day after Christmas.
Democrats have said they intend to push for a third relief proposal, and President-elect Joe Biden has said he will present his plan early next year. He will be inaugurated on January 20th.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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