Millions of Americans lose jobless benefits as Trump refuses to sign aid bill - GulfToday

Millions of Americans lose jobless benefits as Trump refuses to sign aid bill


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Gulf Today Report

President Donald Trump spent Christmas Day golfing at his West Palm Beach club while millions of Americans saw their jobless benefits expire on Saturday after he refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package.

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.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, whose victory Trump still refuses to acknowledge nearly two months after the Nov. 3 election, spent the day at his Delaware home and had no public events, according to his staff. Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

Trump-Jobless-Benefits-1US President Donald Trump departs from the White House for holiday travel to his home in Florida, in Washington. Reuters

Without Trump’s signature, about 14 million people could lose those extra benefits, according to Labour Department data. A partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday unless Congress can agree a stop-gap government funding bill before then.

Trump stunned members of both parties when he unexpectedly announced this week his dislike of the $2.3 trillion spending bill, a package that had taken members of Congress months to negotiate. The bill provides $892 billion in coronavirus relief, and $1.4 trillion in regular government appropriations.

Trump-West-Palm-BeachUS President Donald Trump travels in the presidential motorcade in West Palm Beach, Florida, US. Reuters

After months of wrangling, Republicans and Democrats agreed to the package last weekend, with the support of the White House. Trump, who hands over power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Jan.20, did not object to terms of the deal before Congress voted it through 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 cheques to millions of struggling Americans were too small. He has demanded that it be raised to $2,000.


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“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 scheduled to remain in Mar-a-Lago, where the bill has been sent and awaits his decision. Biden, whose Nov.3 electoral victory Trump refuses to acknowledge, is spending the holiday in his home state of Delaware and had no public events scheduled for Saturday.

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