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US coronavirus relief bill and second stimulus check: live updates

Second stimulus check: latest news

Headlines:

- President Trump has now signed the $2.3tn coronavirus relief and federal funding bill passed by Congress a week ago

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

- Trump says he will demand Congress removes "wasteful items" from the bill and that he is still backing an increase in stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000

- Republicans blocked House attempt to approve $2,000 checks on Thursday; lower chamber to hold full vote on measure on Monday

- Trump's delay in signing bill sees millions of Americans miss out on week of emergency benefits

- Government would have shut down on 29 December if the federal funding had not been signed into law

Trump signs relief bill: what happens now with Americans' stimulus check?

US President Donald Trump has finally signed a $900bn coronavirus aid package, paving the way for Americans to receive a second stimulus check.

But will it be for $600 or $2,000?

Full story:

$2,000 check proposal likely to be "dead on arrival" in Senate

The Republican-held Senate is not expected to countenance a proposal to increase the $600 stimulus-check amount to $2,000, says Thomas Gift, an associate professor or political science at University College London's School of Public Policy.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is due to hold a vote on the plan on Monday, but even if it passes the lower chamber, it is likely to be “dead on arrival” in the Senate, Gift told CNN on Monday.

Senate Republicans “have been saying from the very outset that they’re not willing to go over that $1tn mark [for the relief bill's overall spend] and they’re not willing to entertain any proposals that would see direct checks to Americans over this $600 figure”, Gift said.

It has been estimated that sending out $2,000 checks as part of the new coronavirus aid bill, which was signed by President Trump on Sunday, would add $385bn to the legislation’s $900bn cost.

Sanders: “Let's get this done – NOW!”

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) has urged Congress to approve a proposal for the $600 stimulus check in the new covid-19 relief bill to be increased to $2,000, declaring: “Let’s get this done - NOW!”

The Democrat-held House is due to vote on the proposal on Monday, amid doubts over whether the Republican-controlled Senate will back the plan, which was put forward by President Trump last week.

“Along with Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris and Sen. @EdMarkey, I've been fighting for months to get Congress to pass a $2,000 direct payment for the working class,” Sanders tweeted on Sunday. “The House must pass this legislation tomorrow and the Senate must quickly follow suit. Let's get this done – NOW!

In May, Sanders, Harris and Markey proposed the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which called for qualifying Americans to receive monthly $2,000 payments until after the pandemic is over.

Trump delay sees millions miss out on week of benefits

President Trump’s failure to sign the $900bn coronavirus relief bill by Saturday is expected to see out-of-work Americans receive the $300 benefits boost included in the package for 10 weeks rather than 11, CNN notes.

This is because the bill states that the unemployment-insurance supplement must end by 14 March and benefits cannot be sent out for weeks before a program has been given the green light.

This also means that people who are signed up to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation schemes are set to miss out on their payments for the last week of 2020.

Pelosi: Republicans must "end obstruction" of $2,000 stimulus check

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the $900bn relief bill now signed by President Donald Trump is only a "down payment" on the economic aid Americans need amid the coronavirus pandemic, and has urged Republicans in Congress to get behind Trump’s call for a bigger stimulus check.

Pelosi plans to hold a House vote on increasing the stimulus-check amount to $2,000 on Monday, after Democrats’ attempt to push through the measure by unanimous consent was blocked by Republicans last week.

"The signing of the bipartisan, bicameral coronavirus relief legislation is welcome news for the fourteen million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas Weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis," Pelosi said in a statement.

"This relief legislation is a down payment on what is needed to crush the virus, put money in the pockets of the American people and honor our heroes – our health care workers, first responders, transit and sanitation workers and teachers.  We need to ensure robust support for state and local government to distribute and administer a vaccine, keep workers employed and prevent devastating service cuts – and we must do so as soon as possible.

"The President must immediately call on Congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000, which will be brought to the Floor tomorrow.

Trump signs bill, wants Congress to change it

"I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more", Trump said in a statement from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he signed the bill. The statement also said it was his "responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship" caused by coronavirus.

Trump further said he would send a "strong message" to Congress making it clear that wasteful items in the bill need to be removed: "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." 

The President also said he still wanted the stimulus checks to be $2,000 rather than $600 and that the Republican-controlled Senate would soon "start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000."

"As president, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child", Trump's statement said.

When could stimulus checks arrive?

So the second round of stimulus checks are only going to be a maximum of $600 per individual, despite Trump's late decision to push for $2,000. But when could these arrive? Potentially the first payments could be made in around a week, according to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. 

In the first round of stimulus checks it took 19 days from the passing of the legislation to the first payments hitting bank accounts, but all the technical machinery is in place this time, so the deposits can be processed far faster. 

The legislation Trump has just signed sets a January 15 deadline for the IRS to send out payments, meaning those who will receive it by paper check or prepaid debit card should expect to receive it in "the first three weeks of January", said Mnuchin. 

Trump says he'll send "strong message" to Congress over bill

Trump says he'll sign the bill but send back a redlined version demanding Congress take out items he does not like. Sending back a redlined version will almost certainly have absolutely no effect on the situation unless lawmakers decide they want to address any of the points, and the bill he was sent and signed will become law.

Trump also restated his demand that Congress increase the stimulus cheques to $2,000 from $600 and said the Republican-controlled Senate would "start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000" and also start an investigation into "voter fraud". 

McConnell's view

From CNN's chief media correspondent on Mitch McConnell's reaction to Trump signing the bill into law. The President could have signed it any time over the past four days...

Trump has signed the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief bill 

According to a number of sources President Trump, who earlier tweeted he had "Good news', has signed the coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law tonight. 

The bill includes $900 billion of pandemic aid and includes a second round of stimulus checks, but at $600 rather than the first round of $1,200. President Trump had said he wanted the direct payments to be $2,000 in a video he posted from the White House on Tuesday, indicating he might in fact veto the legislation that lawmakers have toiled over for months. 

Trump's signing of the bill means unemployment benefits, which had been temporarily put on hold, are now restored. It also avoids a government shutdown that would have begun on Tuesday.

Trump teases bill information on Twitter

The President promised 'good news' on the stimulus bill promising to follow it up with more information....

DT

"Create chaos and show power"

Americans are living through a bitter holiday season amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 330,000 people in the United States, with a daily death toll now repeatedly well over 3,000 people, the highest since the pandemic began.

The relief package also extends a moratorium on evictions that expires on Dec. 31, refreshes support for small business payrolls, provides funding to help schools re-open and aid for the transport industry and vaccine distribution.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, said Trump’s refusal to sign the economic stimulus bill was difficult to fathom.

“I don’t get the point,” Kinzinger told CNN’s “State of the Union." “Unless it’s just to create chaos, and show power, and be upset because you lost the election."

The U.S. Congress, which normally is adjourned the last week of December, is preparing to return to work. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives plans to vote on Monday on legislation providing one-time $2,000 checks to people, but Republican lawmakers are already concerned about the cost of the larger package.

Trump

U.S. government heads toward chaotic end to 2020 as Trump fights Congress

The U.S. government headed toward a chaotic last few days of the year as President Donald Trump's refusal to approve a $2.3 trillion financial package caused millions of jobless Americans to lose benefits and threatened to shut down federal agencies due to lack of funding.

Trump, who leaves office on Jan. 20 after losing November's election, came under pressure on Sunday from lawmakers on both sides to stop blocking the pandemic aid and government funding bill which was approved by Congress last week.

The Republican president has demanded that Congress change the bill to increase the size of stimulus checks for struggling Americans to $2,000 from $600.

Many economists agree that the financial aid in the bill should be higher to get the economy moving again but say that immediate support for Americans hit by coronavirus lockdowns is still urgently needed.

Unemployment benefits being paid out to about 14 million people through pandemic programs lapsed on Saturday, but could be restarted until mid-March if Trump signs the bill.

Adding to the uncertainty, the package includes $1.4 trillion in spending to fund government agencies. If Trump does not sign the legislation, then a partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday that would put millions of government workers' incomes at risk, unless Congress steps in with a stop-gap measure the president accepts.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey told "Fox News Sunday" that Trump should approve the bill now, then push for more unemployment money later.

"I understand the president would like to send bigger checks to everybody. I think what he ought to do is sign this bill and then make the case. Congress can pass another bill," Toomey said.

"You don't get everything you want, even if you are the president of the United States," he said. After months of wrangling, Republicans and Democrats agreed to the package last weekend, with the support of the White House.

Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike when he later said he was unhappy with the massive bill, which provides $892 billion in coronavirus financial relief, despite offering no objections to the terms of the deal before Congress voted it through on Monday.

Trump spent the Christmas holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. On Sunday morning, he seemed in no rush to try to resolve the standoff with Congress as he spent several hours at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

He has also complained that the bill gives too much money to special interests, cultural projects and foreign aid. A bipartisan group of lawmakers who were involved in crafting the relief bill urged Trump to sign it immediately. But, they added, if he is determined to veto it, he should do so quickly to "allow those in favor to act before it is too late." "This act will show your support for the American people who are in need of emergency lifelines like food, shelter, unemployment benefits and small business relief during these challenging times," they said in a statement.

 

Second stimulus check: When your payment could come

Donald Trump's insistence that lawmakers boost the bill's $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person is keeping millions of Americans waiting.

Full story:

What happens if Donald Trump fails to sign the $900bn stimulus bill?

Without Donald Trump's signature, approximately 14 million people could lose extra unemployment benefits.

Full story below:

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders: "What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel"

Donald Trump spent the Christmas holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. On Sunday morning, he appeared to be in no rush to try to resolve the standoff with Congress as he headed for the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

"What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel," Senator Bernie Sanders said of the delay.

"We are dealing with an unprecedented moment in American history. So many people are hurting," he told ABC News' "This Week" show. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, urged Trump to "finally do the right thing for the American people and stop worrying about his ego."

House of Representatives to vote on Monday

Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, says Donald Trump’s refusal to sign the economic stimulus bill was difficult to fathom.

“I don’t get the point,” Kinzinger told CNN’s “State of the Union." “Unless it’s just to create chaos, and show power, and be upset because you lost the election." The U.S. Congress, which normally is adjourned the last week of December, is preparing to return to work.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives plans to vote on Monday on legislation providing one-time $2,000 checks to people, but Republican lawmakers are already concerned about the cost of the larger package.

Without enactment of the broad relief and funding bill, the U.S. government runs out of money at midnight on December 28. If the battle with Trump is not resolved by then, Congress must either pass a stopgap funding bill or federal agencies will not have money to fully operate beginning Tuesday.

That scenario could be avoided if both the House and Senate pass a funding bill that is separate from the pandemic legislation and the president signs it by midnight on Monday.

Trump coming under pressure to sign bill

Reuters - The U.S. government headed toward a chaotic last few days of the year as President Donald Trump's refusal to approve a $2.3 trillion financial package caused millions of jobless Americans to lose benefits and threatened to shut down federal agencies due to lack of funding.

Trump, who leaves office on Jan. 20 after losing November's election, came under pressure on Sunday from lawmakers on both sides to stop blocking the pandemic aid and government funding bill which was approved by Congress last week.

The Republican president has demanded that Congress change the bill to increase the size of stimulus checks for struggling Americans to $2,000 from $600.

Many economists agree that the financial aid in the bill should be higher to get the economy moving again but say that immediate support for Americans hit by coronavirus lockdowns is still urgently needed.

Unemployment benefits being paid out to about 14 million people through pandemic programs lapsed on Saturday but could be restarted until mid-March if Trump signs the bill. Adding to the uncertainty, the package includes $1.4 trillion in spending to fund government agencies. If Trump does not sign the legislation, then a partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday that would put millions of government workers' incomes at risk, unless Congress steps in with a stop-gap measure the president accepts.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey told "Fox News Sunday" that Trump should approve the bill now, then push for more unemployment money later.

"I understand the president would like to send bigger checks to everybody. I think what he ought to do is sign this bill and then make the case. Congress can pass another bill," Toomey said.

"You don't get everything you want, even if you are the president of the United States," he added.

What happens if the U.S. government runs out of money on Monday?

What happens if the U.S. government runs out of money on Monday?

Reuters has put together a Factbox of what might come to pass should the US government run out of money on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat not to sign a $2.3 trillion spending package approved by Congress has already shuttered an emergency unemployment aid program and threatens a partial federal government shutdown at midnight on Monday.

The bill provides $892 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion to keep regular government operations running through the fiscal year.

Without Trump’s signature, Congress would need to pass a stopgap funding bill that he is willing to sign to keep federal agencies fully operating.

The Trump administration has not said what it will do if the government runs out of money, but previous lapses have led to tens of thousands of non-essential workers being put on leave and others, including those dealing with public safety, forced to work without pay.

The rundown includes predictions of what may happen to Pandemic Economic Assistance, healthcare, vaccine distribution, the military, law enforcement and more.

Mnuchin: $2,000 stimulus check "disgrace"

US President Donald Trump says the new covid-19 relief bill is a "disgrace" and wants to up its "measly" $600 stimulus check, leaving Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's reputation in Congress "in tatters".

Tension mounts in face of potential Trump stimulus sabotage

Republican @RepKinzinger on Trump threatening to veto stimulus bill: "I don't understand what's being done, [or] why, unless it's just to create chaos & show power & be upset because you lost the election ... this just has to get done."

Donald Trump's Christmas address

The president and first lady released a Christmas message via a video, loosely comparing the birth of Jesus Christ to the “miracle” of the covid-19 vaccine, a nd avoiding any mention of the chaos surrounding the yet-to-be-passed stimulus bill.

Trump may use stimulus bill as revenge for perceived betrayals on both sides

President Trump on Saturday continued to demand changes to the $900 billion stimulus deal that Democrats and Republicans approved on Dec. 21, raising the odds that the government could shut down on Tuesday and the economy could suffer a devastating shock in the final days of his presidency.

His demand for $2,000 stimulus checks is a direct rejection of the $600 checks that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had personally proposed and negotiated with Democrats and Republicans.

Now, Trump’s rejection of the deal has confounded many leaders on Capitol Hill because they had thought Mnuchin negotiated the package on behalf of the president. The treasury chief’s standing with many lawmakers is now in tatters just days before a full-blown crisis is set to occur.

This frightening timeline is a real possibility according to Jeff Stein at the Washington Post

1/Trump vetoes bill, demands a) foreign aid stripped and b) 2K payments;

2/Ds don’t agree to (a); Rs don’t agree to (b);

3/Rs aren’t willing to override veto on $900B;

4/Gridlock, no attempt to override veto

5/Relief bill dies

Democrats to vote tomorrow on separate stimulus bill with $2,000 checks

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that House Democrats would vote Monday on a standalone bill that would provide direct payments to Americans of $2,000 a person.

Pelosi, D-Calif., made the announcement moments after House Republicans blocked a Democratic bid to increase the payments as passed in the stimulus bill earlier this week from $600 a person to $2,000.

"On Monday, I will bring the House back to session, where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000. To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need," Pelosi said in a statement Thursday morning.

Via NBC News

CDC reports 329,592 total deaths from coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 329,592 total deaths from the new coronavirus, an increase of 4,496 from its previous count, and said the number of cases had risen by 339,235 to 18,730,806.

Issued last Monday, the CDC's latest ensemble forecast predicted that 378,000 to 419,000 people will have died from covid-19 in the US by 16 January.

(Reuters contributed to this post)

What happens if Trump doesn't sign the $900bn stimulus bill?

Without Donald Trump's signature, approximately 14 million people stand to miss out on extra unemployment benefits, according to the latest Labor Department data.

Full story:

Mnuchin "embarrassed" by Trump relief-bill snub - full story

Here's more on how President Trump's refusal to sign the new covid-19 relief bill has impacted on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's reputation on Capitol Hill:

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.

(Reuters)

Mnuchin

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."

(Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/AFP)

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 Georgia 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."

Relief bill and second stimulus check updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live blog bringing you the latest developments on the new, $900bn coronavirus relief bill, which President Trump continues to refuse to sign as he calls for Congress to up the $600 stimulus check included in the package to $2,000. 

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