Millions of Americans lose jobless benefits as Trump refuses to sign aid bill
By Steve Holland and Richard Cowan
PALM BEACH, Fla. / WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Millions of Americans saw their unemployment benefits run out on Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump refused to sign a $ 2.3 trillion pandemic and spending package and protested, that it hasn't done enough to help everyday people.
Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike when he said this week he was unhappy with the massive bill that provides much-needed $ 892 billion in coronavirus relief, including the extension of special unemployment benefits, which expires on Dec. 26, and Jan. . $ 4 trillion in normal government spending.
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According to the Ministry of Labor, around 14 million people could lose these additional benefits without Trump's signature. A partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday unless Congress can agree on government funding bill by then.
After months of fighting, Republicans and Democrats approved the package last weekend with the support of the White House. Trump, who turns power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, had no objections to the terms of the deal before Congress passed it on Monday night.
But since then he has complained that the bill gives too much money to special interests, cultural projects, and foreign aid, while the one-time $ 600 stimulus checks were too small for millions of struggling Americans. He has requested that it be increased to $ 2,000.
"Why shouldn't politicians want to give the people $ 2,000 but only $ 600? ... Give the money to our people!" The billionaire president tweeted on Christmas Day that he played a lot of golf at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Many economists agree that aid from the law is too low, but say that immediate assistance is still welcome and necessary.
A source familiar with the situation said Trump's objection to the bill took many White House officials by surprise. Although the outgoing president's strategy for the law remains unclear, he has not vetoed it and could still sign it in the coming days.
On Saturday he was supposed to stay in Mar-a-Lago, where the invoice has been sent and is waiting for his decision. Biden, whose election victory Trump does not recognize on November 3, is spending the vacation in his home state of Delaware and had no public events planned for Saturday.
(Reporting by Steve Holland in Mar-a-Lago and Richard Cowan in Washington; additional reporting by Simon Lewis in Delaware; writing by Michelle Price; editing by William Mallard)
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