Trump Signs Pandemic Relief Bill After Unemployment Aid Lapses

Trump Signs Pandemic Relief Bill After Unemployment Aid Lapses

Trump Signs Pandemic Relief Bill After Unemployment Aid Lapses

Trump Signs Pandemic Relief Bill After Unemployment Aid Lapses

House Democrats plan on Monday to vote on legislation that would provide for $2,000 direct payments, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying Mr. Trump should “immediately call on congressional Republicans to end their obstruction” and support the measure. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said he would move to pass the bill in the Senate, but such a maneuver would require Republican support.

But during the negotiations, Senate Republicans have resisted increasing the payments, citing concerns about the deficit. In a statement applauding the president’s signature, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, made no mention of the $2,000 payments or any of the president’s assertions about the next steps for the chamber he controls.

“I applaud President Trump’s decision to get hundreds of billions of dollars of crucial Covid-19 relief out the door and into the hands of American families as quickly as possible,” Mr. McConnell said, without any mention of the delay Mr. Trump caused.

While the legislation provides for expanded and extended unemployment benefits, Mr. Trump’s delay in signing allowed two critical programs to lapse this weekend and guarantees a delay in benefits for millions of Americans who had relied on the income. The legislation provides for a weekly $300 federal benefit — about half the original benefit established in the March stimulus law — for 11 weeks, and extends the two programs.

With state unemployment agencies waiting for federal guidance on how to put the new legislation in place, it is unclear how quickly those programs could resume and whether the benefits would be retroactive to accommodate the delay. Because unemployment benefits are processed weekly and the legislation was not signed before the beginning of the week, it is likely that workers in most states will lose a week of benefits under the expanded program, as well as a week with the $300 supplemental benefit.

“They might get it at the back end, but there are bills tomorrow,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit workers’ rights group. “It’s just so frustrating that he couldn’t have figured this out yesterday. One day of delay is catastrophe for millions.”

A Democratic aide on Sunday said most states would need guidance from the Labor Department to see if they could pay benefits for the week of Dec. 27.


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