Trump signs relief bill despite criticism

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President Trump has signed the government funding and coronavirus relief package, the White House said, averting a government shutdown and delivering economic aid as the pandemic worsens.

© Getty Images Trump signs $2.3T relief, spending package

Trump signed off on the $2.3 trillion package from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, days after he had expressed displeasure with the spending outlined in the omnibus and complained that the coronavirus relief measure should include direct payments of $2,000 per person, up from $600.

But the delay came after unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans on Saturday as the bill went unsigned. Trump has visited his golf club in Florida each day since arriving in Florida on Wednesday and has made no public appearances.

The coronavirus relief bill passed after months of inaction from Congress and as the pandemic surges across the United States. The country has seen record levels of infections in recent weeks, though millions have continued to travel for the holiday.

The relief legislation includes direct payments of $600 per adult and per child. The amount per adult is half the $1,200 payments that were provided under the CARES Act enacted in March, but the amount per child is slightly larger than the $500 allowed under that law.

Two expiring CARES Act programs, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which made benefits available to the self-employed and gig economy workers, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provided additional weeks of benefits, were extended for 11 weeks, averting a fiscal crisis for millions of Americans.

The bill also includes $284 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided distressed small businesses with forgivable loans to keep them afloat and leave employees on the books.

The omnibus had drawn Trump’s ire for the inclusion of millions in funding for foreign policy priorities, including many outlined by the president’s own administration. But had Trump not signed the bill, the government would have shutdown at midnight on Monday.

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