Trump will cost jobless workers a week of $300 federal unemployment benefits if he doesn't sign the relief bill by the end of Saturday

AP Photo / Patrick Semansky
The president could cost the unemployed $ 300 unemployment benefits a week if the relief bill is not signed by midnight Saturday.
Government agencies can only distribute benefits for weeks when the legislation is in place, experts say.
Almost 14 million Americans are at risk of losing all of their unemployment benefits this weekend.
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President Donald Trump has proposed rejecting the $ 900 billion coronavirus aid package approved by Congress earlier this week unless lawmakers provide for 2,000 stimulus payments. He still hasn't legally signed it and has given little guidance as to which direction it will swing.
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The ongoing delay also jeopardizes a wide range of federal assistance programs in the legislature. Getting unemployment benefits could prove costly for millions of Americans as they were due to restart on December 26th.
If Trump doesn't sign the federal bailout by the end of Saturday, it would cut a week of $ 300 unemployment benefits, according to Michele Evermore, a policy expert with the National Employment Law Project.
However, she warned that it would be difficult to project without federal guidance on how the raid would affect other unemployment programs.
"I'm not exactly sure how to interpret this - at least we'll lose a week of the $ 300," Evermore told Insider. "No matter what, if he doesn't sign, it's up to an additional $ 300 for 10 weeks next week."
Experts like Evermore say a two to three week gap in unemployment benefits is inevitable as states need time to recalibrate their computer systems in order to send payments.
States cannot provide services for weeks before the aid law is actually passed. Depending on when it is signed, this could put the employment agencies on track to restart the payouts in the first week of January. The $ 300 surcharge would end on March 14th, only introducing an extension of 10 weeks instead of 11.
Trump's move also threatens to financially destroy millions of Americans on their way into next year. Saturday is the last day two federal unemployment programs distribute their payments. They are the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and freelancers and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for people who have exhausted government benefits.
Established in March under the CARES Act, the pair of programs includes 14 million people and expires this month. The President's calendar does not include any public events for the weekend. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The president asserted his position in a tweet on Saturday morning, saying he wanted to increase stimulus payments and remove unrelated provisions from the large tax and spending package.
"I just want to get great people out for $ 2,000 instead of the paltry $ 600 that's now on the bill," Trump tweeted. "Stop the billions of dollars in 'pork' too."
On Tuesday evening, in a video posted on Twitter, Trump threatened to derail the $ 900 billion coronavirus aid package along with the state spending bill it was paired with to expedite its passage. He has blown provisions in funding legislation like money for the Kennedy Center, even though his budget request had allocated funds for it.
The development stunned legislators on Capitol Hill, who expected the President to sign the legislation, given the White House public statements. Trump had largely delegated the relief negotiations to the leaders of Congress for months.
The coronavirus relief bill included $ 600 in direct payments, $ 300 weekly federal unemployment benefits, grocery stamp funding and rental assistance, and small business aid, among other things. On Monday evening, Congress passed with a strong bipartisan majority, which could possibly pave the way for a veto override.
In a political jockeying session on Thursday, the House Democrats swiftly tried to push ahead with a measure to approve stimulus checks worth $ 2,000. But the Republicans of the House immediately blocked it. Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi attacked the GOP move and vowed to submit the legislation for another vote on Monday.
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, a top Trump ally in Congress, suggested that the president held his position on Saturday afternoon.
"After spending some time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I believe he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $ 2,000 per person and question the protection of the large technical liability in Section 230," tweeted Graham.
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