US President Donald Trump on Sunday signed the 2.3 trillion USD COVID relief bill, days after calling it a disgrace. His decision to sign the bill averts a government shutdown since the funding was set to expire on Monday night.
Prior to this, he had released a statement that he would send a redlined version of the bill accompanied by a formal request insisting that the Congress removes certain funding from the bill. However, Presidents do not have such veto power. He could either accept the bill in full or reject it.
Trump had recommended the payments be increased to USD 2,000 per person from current USD 600. The House will vote on the proposal on Monday.
In his statement on Sunday, Trump said, “I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more.”
Criticising the bill last week, President Trump had said, “It is called the Covid relief bill but has almost nothing to do with Covid. This Bill contains 85.5 million dollars for assistance to Cambodia, 134 million dollars to Burma, 1.3 billion dollars for Egypt and the Egyptian military which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment.”
“25 million dollars for democracy and gender programmes in Pakistan,” Trump said and listed out other relief packages for other countries. He had also pointed out how the relief packages contain money allocated to various facilities like the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and others which are currently not operational. He questioned why the Kennedy Center in Washington DC was set to receive 40 million USD when it is not open, and over 1 billion USD has been allocated to museums and galleries in the capital.