Democrats and Republicans struggled for another stimulus package for months. After the agreement, Trump surprisingly thwarted plans. Now he agrees.
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The incumbent US President Donald Trump signed a corona stimulus package that had been passed by Congress with a bipartisan majority. That came out on Sunday evening (local time) from a statement by the White House on the bundle of measures worth around 900 billion US dollars (about 740 billion euros). This also averted an impending standstill in government business from Tuesday.
The package is intended to help financially struggling citizens, provide impetus for the troubled economy and provide additional funds for vaccinations and the fight against the coronavirus. Trump had surprisingly threatened to veto the legislative package earlier this week. He called the package a “shame”.
Trump demanded, among other things, that most US citizens should receive a one-time aid payment of $ 2,000 per adult. The stimulus package only provides for a payment of $ 600. Now the White House has said the House of Representatives will vote on an increase in the payment on Monday.
Republicans in the Senate resisted the package for a long time
Trump’s Republicans in the House of Representatives had rejected such an effort by the Democrats on Thursday. In addition, the approval of the Senate would also be required. The Republicans there had been barring a major stimulus package for months. The chances of success of Trump’s wish seemed rather uncertain.
Because of the Corona crisis, the US Congress decided in the spring to implement stimulus packages worth around $ 2.7 trillion. That corresponded to more than ten percent of the annual economic output. Most recently, Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, and Republicans, who have a majority in the Senate, argued for months over another package.
The stimulus package also passed part of the federal government’s budget of around $ 1.4 trillion. With his signature, Trump is now preventing the government from running out of money from Tuesday. Without his signature, government business would have come to a standstill, a so-called shutdown. When he rejected the legislative package, Trump had also stated that he wanted “wasteful” spending to be cut from the budget. Now he has announced that he will return the legislative package with exact cuts. “Wasteful spending must be cut,” the statement said.
But no shutdown at the end of the presidency
Trump’s sudden U-turn is likely to be related not only to the growing pressure from within, but also to the impending shutdown. If it had come to a standstill, his presidency would have ended in a mess. The Republican Trump lost the presidential election on November 3rd against the Democrat Joe Biden. Trump refuses to admit defeat. Biden is to be sworn in on January 20th.
Trump’s delayed signature of the 5,500-page legislative package, however, has consequences. On Saturday, measures for a more generous regulation of unemployment benefits expired without replacement. Because Trump only signed the law on Sunday, millions of unemployed will receive little or no support for a week.
The stimulus package provides for $ 300 more unemployment benefits per week through March. As a result of the Corona crisis, around 20.4 million people in the USA recently received some form of unemployment benefit, almost 19 million more than at the same time in 2019.
The economic stimulus package also includes further financial aid for small and medium-sized enterprises. Additional money for schools and for distributing the vaccines in the country is also planned. Trump signed the package now on his Christmas vacation in Florida.
The corona pandemic has plunged the US into a serious crisis, both economically and in terms of the health of the people in the country. A good 19 million people there have been infected with the corona virus so far. More than 333,000 people have died in connection with Covid-19. In absolute terms, that’s more infections and deaths than any other country in the world.