President-elect Joe Biden took aim at President Donald Trump over the weekend for not yet signing the $2.3 trillion bill passed by Congress that combines government funding and coronavirus relief.
What did Biden say?
“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,” Biden said in a statement.
“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences,” Biden continued, adding:
Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits. In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk. In less than a week, a moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions at risk of being forced from their homes over the holidays. Delay means more small businesses won’t survive this dark winter because they lack access to the lifeline they need, and Americans face further delays in getting the direct payments they deserve as quickly as possible to help deal with the economic devastation caused by COVID-19.
Why hasn’t Trump signed the bill?
One day after bipartisan negotiations resulted in Congress passing the bill, Trump announced on Tuesday that he would not sign it, calling the bill a “disgrace” because lawmakers stuffed it with “wasteful spending” that “has almost nothing to do with COVID.”
“Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments, and not enough money is given to small businesses and, in particular, restaurants — whose owners have suffered so grievously — they were only given a deduction for others to use,” Trump said.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” he continued.
Instead of $600 stimulus payments to Americans, Trump demanded $2,000 payments.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said. “I am also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package — and maybe that administration will be me. And we will get it done.”
However, Trump was even criticized by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) on Sunday, who said Trump should sign the bill.
“Look, if it were just a freestanding government funding bill, I would almost certainly be voting against that,” Toomey said on Fox News. “But I think the COVID relief measures are really, really important. And, you know, in my state, as in many other states, we have governors who are closing down businesses again. People are out of work, certainly through no fault of their own.