Congress sends Covid package and spending measure to Trump
Congress sent the massive coronavirus stimulus package and annual budget measure to President Donald Trump Thursday afternoon, though the president has signaled that he doesn’t support the bill as written.
Both the House and the Senate enrolled the bill Thursday. Now the 5,000-page legislation will be sent immediately to Mar-a-Lago where Trump is currently staying.
The president has thrown the fate of the bill into jeopardy by expressing frustration with the $600 stimulus checks included in the package, instead pushing for $2,000 direct payments. Trump’s complaints about the content of the bill comes after he largely left the negotiations up to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Until earlier this week, White House officials suggested the president would sign the package into law.
Trump vetoing the spending bill, which passed both chambers by overwhelming margins, could mean a potential government shutdown. Without a presidential signature, government funding will run out on Monday night. The House is already preparing a potential short-term continuing resolution in case Trump actually rejects the package, though Trump would also need to sign that into law.
The uncertainty surrounding the legislation comes as several safety net programs are ending in the coming days, unless the president signs the bill. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program is set to expire on Dec. 31, with last checks going out Dec. 26 for millions of independent contractors and self-employed workers. In addition, a separate program that extends unemployment insurance to 39 weeks from 26 weeks is also scheduled to sunset Dec. 31.
Congress’ latest coronavirus relief package also extends the eviction moratorium past Dec. 31 and into the end of January. The moratorium prevents landlords from removing renters during the pandemic.
Eleanor Mueller contributed to this report.