While President Donald Trump spends the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, millions of Americans will lose their jobless benefits.
Trump’s refusal to sign the $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill, which his own administration negotiated, means approximately 14 million Americans will see their unemployment benefits expire on Saturday.
With at least a partial government shutdown looming if not signed by Tuesday, the bill has been sent to Florida where it awaits the president’s signature or veto.
Trump’s attempt to upend the bipartisan compromise by leadership in the House and Senate, insisting on $2,000 stimulus checks instead of the current $600 in the bill, is as fraudulent as his rigged election claims. It’s important to remember that although Trump is now saying, “Give our people the money!” his administration was involved in the negotiations, and it’s his party that is insisting on keeping payments to Americans low.
According to the New York Times, since November an additional 398,000 people filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, one of two programs that will expire on Saturday night. And even if Trump signed the bill today, it could still take four to six weeks for people to receive their new benefits, and they will need to submit proof that they are eligible.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to hold a unanimous consent vote Monday on legislation for stimulus checks that would meet Trump’s supposed desire for $2,000 direct payments, although that is unlikely to pass or get past the Senate. But the vote will put Republicans in Congress on the spot since they’ve balked at going above $600, following their rediscovered concerns about the deficit.