After days of stalling and criticizing the legislation, President Donald Trump signed a $1.4 trillion spending bill and accompanying $900 billion economic stimulus package into law on Sunday evening, averting a Tuesday government shutdown and clearing the way for $600 stimulus checks and $300 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits.
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bills last week, but Trump did not immediately sign them because of what he described as “wasteful and unnecessary” provisions in the budget bill and “ridiculously low” direct payments to Americans in the stimulus bill.
Because of Trump’s delay in signing the legislation, two emergency federal unemployment programs expired on Saturday, meaning that millions of Americans will see their benefits lapse until the first week of January when they restart under the new legislation.
The new stimulus bill follows the $2.2 trillion CARES Act from March—the largest economic relief bill in American history—and will re-up a number of key benefits from that legislation, including the popular Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable loans for small businesses and emergency unemployment benefits for self-employed individuals and gig workers.
In addition to $600 direct payments for eligible individuals and families and $300 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits through the middle of March, the new rescue bill includes money for healthcare and vaccine distribution, rental assistance and the entertainment industry.
It will also extend a federal eviction moratorium through the end of January, but it does not include any new federal aid for state and local governments or liability protections for businesses—two major sticking points that held up negotiations for months.
“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday, doubling down on his criticism of the federal budget for the 2021 fiscal year and last-minute insistence that the direct payments be upped from $600 to $2,000 per person. “I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.”
What To Watch For
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she plans to hold a vote Monday on a standalone bill for $2,000 stimulus checks, but that measure is ultimately expected to fail. In his Sunday statement, President Trump acknowledged t