Millions of Americans are about to see their jobless benefits expire, Saturday, as U.S. President Donald Trump has so far refused to sign a $2.3 trillion pandemic relief and spending package, arguing it didn’t do enough to help everyday people.
The president surprised Republicans and Democrats last Tuesday when he threatened not to sign the coronavirus relief bill - which includes extending special unemployment benefits... after the House and Senate passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Trump on Saturday tweeted: "I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in “pork.'"
Trump has complained that the $600 one-time stimulus check for millions of Americans were too small and that the bill doles out too much money to special interests, cultural projects and foreign aid. While many economists agree the aid isn’t enough, they say immediate financial support is a must.
Without the president's signature, about 14 million people stand to lose those extra unemployment benefits, according to Labor Department data. And unless Congress can agree on a stop-gap government funding bill, a partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday.
Trump, who is scheduled to remain at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, has not vetoed the bill, and could still sign it in coming days.
Democratic Congressman Don Beyer told CNN if Trump signed the bill Saturday it would mean, quote, "that the people on pandemic unemployment insurance, which runs out today, get to keep it."
Congress, which normally is adjourned the last week of December, will be preparing to return to work. The Democratic-controlled House plans to vote on legislation providing one-time, $2,000 checks to individuals.