President-elect Joe Biden has called on President Donald Trump to sign the bipartisan Covid-19 relief bill, warning that any further delay has “devastating consequences” for Americans.
Trump has not yet signed the joint $900 billion relief package and government spending bill that Congress passed this week, saying that the bill doesn’t provide enough money in direct payments and includes “wasteful and unnecessary items,” despite it largely meeting his administration’s budget proposal.
Biden argued Saturday — the day unemployment benefits for more than 12 million Americans who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic are set to expire — that the bill is “critical” and “needs to be signed into law now.”
“It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” he said in a statement. “This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences.”
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With the relief package left unsigned by the President, expanded jobless benefits will run out Saturday, government funding will lapse on Monday, a moratorium on evictions will expire next week, federal loans for small businesses won’t be revived and direct $600 payments to certain Americans will be delayed.
CNN previously reported that the bill was at Mar-a-Lago by Friday morning, according to an official familiar with the matter.
Trump has not explicitly said he will veto the bill, which passed Congress Monday with big veto-proof majorities. The deal was reached only after both parties relinquished some of their key demands, with direct stimulus checks proving to be a major sticking point throughout negotiations.
Biden, who won’t take office until January 20, called the bill a “first step and down payment on more action” needed early next year to “revive the economy and contain the pandemic.”
He added that he was “heartened” to see Congress heed Americans’ demands for compromise and bipartisan action amid the pandemic.
“President Trump should join them, and make sure millions of Americans can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads in this holiday season,” the President-elect said.