Second stimulus check news summary on 26 December: amount, dates, Trump...

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Second stimulus check updates: $2,000 payment, Trump possible veto, amount, eligibility...

US coronavirus relief bill and second stimulus check: live updates

Second stimulus check: latest news


- $2.3tn coronavirus relief and federal funding bill passed by Congress on Monday

- Legislation includes roughly $900bn in covid-19 aid

- President Trump continues to refuse to sign the bill

- Trump wants $600 stimulus checks to be increased to $2,000

- Republicans in Congress refuse to approve $2,000 stimulus checks

- Emergency unemployment benefits ended on Saturday amid relief-bill impasse

- Evictions moratorium due to expire on 31 December

- Government shutdown at year end unless federal funding signed into law

Treasury Sec Mnuchin "completely embarrassed"

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been "completely embarrassed" by President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign the $900bn coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress on Monday, says Brian Riedl of the conservative Manhattan Institute think tank.

Mnuchin, a Trump loyalist and the White House’s chief representative in relief talks with congressional leaders, described the bill as "fabulous" in an interview with CNBC on the day it was approved, only to see the president brand it a "disgrace" on Tuesday and indicate that he intended to veto it.

Trump has in particular objected to the $600 stimulus check included in the bill - a provision behind which Mnuchin was a major driving force.

"Loyalty and assistance to President Trump generally gets rewarded with humiliation. This is how it ends for a lot of people who work for the guy," Riedl told the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein. "Secretary Mnuchin has been completely embarrassed."

Trump has "thrown everything into disarray"

Natasha Lindstaedt, a professor of government at the University of Essex, says it is hard to pinpoint Donald Trump’s ultimate motives as the US president continues to refuse to sign a $900bn coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress on Monday.

"I don’t understand what Trump’s end game is here because he’s definitely hurting the Republicans," Lindstaedt told CNN. “Even his own spokesperson had said they were going to provide this relief and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin had said this as well, that this type of aid would be coming later in the week - and now he’s thrown everything into disarray.

"But it’s not just the Republicans that are affected, of course - it’s something that hurts everybody, all Americans. There are millions of Americans who are affected by his decision to not support this aid package."

She continued: "He’s so focused on the fact that he has lost the election and he’s just getting into some sort of scorched-earth policy. It’s very difficult to really understand his mindset, but he is trying to destroy any kind of potential aid package by just not doing anything. The Republicans and the Democrats had finally come to an agreement on something here, all he needed to do was sign it and support it.

"This was a win-win situation, but he’s distracted, maybe he’s focused on other things, on trying to project this narrative that everything in Congress is corrupt and that the elections were corrupt; maybe he doesn’t want to take any part in it."

Lindstaedt also noted that Trump’s actions may damage the prospects of Republican candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in January’s crucial Senate run-off elections in Georgia.

"I think this is very detrimental to his own party; this is not going to help Republicans. With the really important Senate race in Gerogia coming up in January, I don’t see how this is going to help those senators that are trying win a very close race against Democratic challengers.

"[The big question is] whether or not voters in Georgia are going to punish Loeffler and Perdue because of Trump, because they are Republicans."

Could a $2,000 stimulus check happen?

Full story:

Relief, federal funding impasse a "failure to the people"

The ongoing impasse over coronavirus relief and federal funding is a “failure to the people”, says Ryan Patel of the Drucker School of Management.

As President Donald Trump continues to refuse to sign a $2.3tn covid-19 aid and federal spending bill, emergency unemployment benefits expired on Saturday, a moratorium on evictions runs out on 31 December and government faces shutdown on Tuesday.

"This is a failure to the people," Patel told CNN on Sunday. "This is not the first time; this has continued happening. [The fact that] we’re talking about a possible shutdown is a failure."

Time is of the essence, he stressed, noting that cash-strapped Americans won’t receive economic relief overnight even if Trump signs the covid-19 aid bill into law right away.

"We saw in the US that 9.3 million people filed claims to this [emergency unemployment insurance] program by December, and even if you sign tomorrow, people who need money will be unable to pay rent and to pay for food."

He added: "It then starts to add up more and more. The focus of a stimulus package is to help people stay on their feet."

Trump: "Increase the payments to the people, get rid of the pork"

Amid his refusal to sign the $900bn coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress on Monday, President Donald Trump has continued to send out tweets lambasting the package from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

"$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600," Trump tweeted on Saturday evening, in a reference to his call for the size of the stimulus check included in the bill to be increased.

In a later post, he added: "Increase the payments to the people, get rid of the pork".

It's worth remembering that Trump could have raised an objection to the $600 figure before the relief bill went to a vote in Congress last week, but did not.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said she will hold a vote on upping the stimulus check amount in the lower chamber on Monday, but such a change appears unlikely to get through the Republican-held Senate.

Jobless benefit cut-off pushes millions to financial cliff edge

When the Congress passed a pandemic aid bill on Monday, Meghan Meyer, a single mom from Lincoln, Nebraska, thought she would get some respite from the daily struggle to feed and house her two kids during an unprecedented health and economic crisis.

But the next day President Donald Trump declared the long-awaited relief package "a disgrace" and said he would not sign it into law, decrying some of its spending measures while also demanding it include bigger stimulus checks for most Americans.

By the weekend, he had refused to budge. That leaves Meyer, who has been on unpaid medical leave from her customer service job at retailer TJ Maxx since May because she is at risk of severe covid, facing a financial cliff edge.

She is one of roughly 14 million Americans whose emergency unemployment benefits, introduced by Congress when the pandemic took hold in March, ended on Saturday.

"I don't know what I'm going to do,” Meyer, 39, told Reuters in a phone interview. To make it through 2020, Meyer said she has had to lean on friends and charities to help put food on the table, pay her rent, cover the family dog's medical expenses, and buy Christmas presents for her kids. "I have held out and held out," she said.

The new relief bill would extend through mid-March programs that support the self-employed and unemployed for more than half a year. It also gives an additional $300 a week through mid-March to all those receiving jobless benefits, some 20.3 million people, extends through January a moratorium on evictions due to expire on 31 December and provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance.

Many economists agree that the aid is insufficient and more will be needed after Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. Biden has called the bill a "down payment".

Negotiated by Trump's own Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and the Republican Party's congressional leaders, the bill has been flown to the president's Florida beach resort where he is staying for the holiday, awaiting his possible signature.

In tweets on Saturday, Trump signaled he was still unwilling to sign the bill, despite pleas from lawmakers to show goodwill at Christmas time. "I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600," he tweeted Saturday, referring to the bill's stimulus checks.

Trump had not criticized the aid package's terms before it went before the House of Representatives and the Senate for a vote.


"The United States Election System looks like that of a third world country"

Donald Trump continued his attack to question the recent election results with a series of posts on Twitter. "Time for Republican Senators to step up and fight for the Presidency, like the Democrats would do if they had actually won. The proof is irrefutable! Massive late night mail-in ballot drops in swing states, stuffing the ballot boxes (on video), double voters, dead voters, Courts are bad, the FBI and “Justice” didn’t do their job, and the United States Election System looks like that of a third world country. Freedom of the press has been gone for a long time, it is Fake News, and now we have Big Tech (with Section 230) to deal with. But when it is all over, and this period of time becomes just another ugly chapter in our Country’s history, WE WILL WIN!!!"

Trump is "determined to get bigger stimulus payments"

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham claims that Donald Trump is "more determined than ever" to negotiate and get bigger stimulus payments for struggling Americans. In the new bill passed by Congress last week, stimulus payments of $600 were included by Trump is adamant that it is nowhere near enough. "After spending some time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection," Graham posted on Twitter. "Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people. Congress should vote to Repeal Section 230 as requested by President Trump. I will not vote to override presidential veto unless effort is made to wind down Section 230".

Unemployment benefits: how much money will it be after the new stimulus bill?

The $900 billion pandemic relief bill which was passed by Congress last week includes enhanced unemployment benefits and an extension to the PUA program.


How has stimulus check eligibility changed second time around?

President Donald Trump is stalling on signing the $900bn relief bill passed on Monday - but if and when he finally approves it, here's what the eligibility requirements are for the $600 stimulus check in the package.

Full Story:

What happens if President Donald Trump doesn't sign the $900 billion second stimulus check?

Without Donald Trump's signature, approximately 14 million people could be financially affected.

Full story:

Could a $2,000 stimulus check happen?

Donald Trump continues to refuse to sign a coronavirus relief and federal funding bill passed by the US Congress this week, amid calls from the president to increase the size of the stimulus check included in the legislation.

Full story:

Trump reiterates desire to up "measly" $600 figure

President Trump has again tweeted his disapproval of the $600 stimulus check included in the $900bn coronavirus relief package passed by Congress on Monday, declaring: "I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill."

Republican senator backs Trump call for $2,000 stimulus check

Republicans on Thursday blocked House Democrats' attempts to increase the $600 stimulus check in the $900bn relief bill to $2,000, but Lindsey Graham, a GOP senator from South Carolina, has come out in support of President Donald Trump's call for the direct-payment figure to be increased.

"After spending some time with President Donald Trump today, I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection," Senator Graham tweeted.

"Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people."

Graham was seen playing golf with the president at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Christmas Day.


Donald Trump golfs as Congress scrambles to salvage relief bill

The US President is now officially on holiday and travelled to his Palm Beach golf club, where he was spotted by CNN cameras on the links. 

Food banks

As the covid crisis continues to bite, demand rises for US food banks

​​​​​​Food banks across the United States are straining to meet rising demand during the pandemic, even in some of the country's wealthier regions.

via BBC World

Sanders: "Governmental cruelty not seen in our lifetimes"

Taking to Twitter pre-Christmas, Bernie Sanders stated that Trump's administration had to sign off the proposed bill and failure to do so would amount to governmental cruelty not seen in our lifetime.  

$2,000 stimulus checks don't make sense: Larry Summers

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, a Wall Street Week contributor and adviser to Pres.-elect Biden's campaign, says $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans don't make much sense​​​​​​.

via Bloomberg


Second stimulus check: how has eligibility changed?

President Donald Trump is stalling on signing the $900bn relief bill passed on Monday - but if and when he finally approves it, here's what the eligibility requirements are for the $600 stimulus check in the package:

How relief-bill stand-off could play out: three scenarios

Trump backs down

Trump signs the 5,500-page bill, despite Congress' refusal so far to meet his demands. He wants far larger coronavirus relief checks for Americans and major reductions to the foreign aid budget and other spending he has deemed wasteful.

Trump vetoes the bill

Trump rejects the bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives and Senate. This would present Congress with two options:

1. Round up the two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override Trump's veto before the bill expires, and then it automatically becomes law.

2. Sustain the president's veto, a scenario likely if enough Republicans abandon the legislation, despite their earlier votes for passage. The bill is killed.

Trump does nothing

Trump runs out the clock within 10 calendar days (except Sundays) of receiving it from Congress, neither signing nor vetoing it. The situation is known as a 'pocket veto'.

This step is somewhat complicated because it normally only works when Congress is adjourned. In this case, the calendar works in Trump's favor if he wants to kill the bill. Within that 10-day time frame, the current 116th Congress expires on 3 January and the new, 117th Congress is sworn in.

Bills die if they are not enacted during the Congress in which they are introduced. That means it could be left to President-elect Joe Biden to deal with after he is sworn in on 20 January.

Meanwhile, people who lost their jobs during the pandemic would suffer as unemployment insurance for more than 14 million expires on 26 December.


"Trump has blown up the bill"

Julie Norman, a lecturer in politics and international relations at University College London, says President Donald Trump has "blown up" the $2.3tn coronavirus aid and federal funding bill passed by Congress this week with his disagreements to the package.

Trump is yet to sign the bill into law, having branded it a "disgrace" and called on lawmakers to increase the $600 stimulus checks included in the $900bn of covid-19 relief to $2,000.

"This bill was a long time coming - it took months of bipartisan effort," Norman told CNN, adding that Trump’s objections came as a surprise as "there wasn’t any kind of indication" in the preceding weeks that the president was going to oppose the package.

"Trump has blown up the bill at this really crucial moment of urgency."

Trump: "Why would politicians not want to give people $2000?"

Tweeting from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where the $2.3tn coronavirus relief and federal funding bill has been sent and awaits his decision, President Donald Trump on Christmas Day doubled down on his call for Congress to increase the $600 stimulus check amount to $2,000.

Although he was seen by CNN’s cameras playing golf at the resort, Trump said he had also "made many calls and had many meetings".

"Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida," the president posted. "Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!”

Millions of Americans lose jobless benefits with Trump refusal to sign aid bill

Millions of Americans saw their jobless benefits expire on Saturday amid US President Donald Trump's refusal to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package.

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Live updates on covid-19 relief bill and second stimulus check: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live blog bringing you the latest news on the efforts to push through a coronavirus relief bill in the US, with President Donald Trump yet to sign a $900bn aid package passed by both houses of Congress on Monday.

Trump has branded the bill a "disgrace" and thrown its passage into chaos by urging lawmakers to up the $600 stimulus check included in it to $2,000 - an idea which has been met with enthusiasm by Democrats in Congress, but has been rejected by Republicans.

Given the stimulus bill was attached to a $1.4tn federal funding package, the president's refusal to sign risks not only leaving Americans without economic relief, but also leading to a government shutdown.