PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Help is on the way.
After waiting for several days, President Donald Trump has signed a massive $2.3 trillion bill to prevent a government shutdown and provide covid relief.
The breakdown of this bill is $1.4 trillion for government spending and $900 billion for COVID-19 relief. This includes $600 in direct payments to Americans.
It also extends unemployment benefits but not before a lapse for an estimated 12 million Americans because of when the bill was signed by the president.
Unemployment benefits will be extended for another 11 weeks. For those collecting jobless benefits, they will get a $300 federal boost through mid-March.
In a letter, President Trump says he signed this bill to provide unemployment benefits, PPP, and provide rental assistance. He wants more.
In the letter, he doubled down on his request for Congress to issue $2,000. This is an issue Democrats have agreed with him on but Republicans have been split.
“Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said.
“Why would we be sending $2,000 to people with a six-figure income who have had no suspension, no reduction of their income at all,” Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. “It should be targeted to people who have actually lost their job, small businesses that are actually in danger of going under.”
The president is also sending the bill back to Congress and after he redlined items that he views are wasteful spending.
Senator Pat Toomey says he is glad the bill was signed and disagrees with the wasteful spending. He feels the good does outweigh the bad.
Other public officials are making statements on Monday after the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package was signed into law last night.
Governor Tom Wolf said he was “pleased” that Congress was able to pass this legislation and thus help Pennsylvanians who are relying on federal aid during the coronavirus pandemic. However, he is also urging Congress to immediately start work on another relief package for the unemployed and others hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
“Congress should immediately begin planning for another round of COVID-19 relief – including direct aid to individuals, funding for state and local governments and dedicated support for the service industry,” Wolf said. “This aid is critical to support our efforts to rebuild a resilient economy – and we’ve all seen what happens when Congress waits until the last minute to get serious about providing relief.”
While Wolf’s statement did not include a mention of the President, Congressman Mike Doyle (D-18) did discuss the President’s role in the signing of the bill in his statement to KDKA.
“The president has finally signed the COVID relief bill – after going back on his word and moving the goalposts and threatening to veto it if he didn’t get his way. I’m glad that this aid will go out right now to Americans who desperately need it,” Doyle said. “This is just a down payment on the federal help that will be needed in the months ahead, as I see it. The House will vote today on increasing direct payments by an additional $1,400, and I will work with the Biden-Harris Administration to provide the assistance needed to keep families and businesses whole until we can vaccinate everyone and get the economy back on track.”
Congress is expected to vote on the $2,000 dollar checks today.