U.S. President-elect Joe Biden warned on Saturday of “devastating consequences” if President Donald Trump continues to delay the signing of a Covid-19 economic relief law passed by Congress.
Biden made the statement when millions of Americans saw their unemployment benefits expire after Trump cast doubt on a long-awaited pandemic package – demanding that lawmakers more than triple the $ 600 direct payments to US taxpayers.
This waiver of liability has devastating consequences. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits, Biden said in a statement.
The stimulus measure is packed with a $ 1.4 trillion funding bill, without which the government will be forced to shut down by midnight Monday.
“In just a few days, public funding will cease, which means that vital services and paychecks for military personnel will be jeopardized,” Biden added.
“In less than a week, a moratorium on deportations will end, which means that millions risk being forced out of their homes during the holidays.”
In a video late Tuesday, Trump, who will leave office in less than a month, called the $ 900 million bill “a disgrace” – even though it passed Monday with a large two-party majority after months of negotiations.
The legislation was designed to throw a lifeline to companies and people struggling to keep their heads above water.
But in a pre-recorded White House statement, Trump said he would refuse to accept the bill without changes that increased taxpayer controls to $ 2,000.
“I simply want to get our amazing people $ 2,000, rather than the moderate $ 600 that is now in the bill,” Trump repeated on Twitter on Saturday.
The move puts the Republican president at odds with his party’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has ruled out any major stimulus measures.
Republicans on Thursday blocked a democratic attempt to increase payments that would go to all taxpayers who earn up to $ 75,000 a year, with smaller amounts for those who earn up to $ 99,000.
“Delays mean that more small businesses will not survive this dark winter because they do not have access to the lifeline they need, and Americans are facing further delays when they receive the direct payments they deserve as quickly as possible to deal with the economic devastation that Covid – 19, ”added Biden.
It is almost unsurpassed for a president to veto a bill that received such overwhelming bipartisan support.
But his veto on Wednesday for a defense funding, NDAA, ensures that lawmakers return to Washington after Christmas to override the measure.
And while Congress would almost certainly override a presidential veto on the funding package, Trump could remove a “pocket veto” by simply refusing to sign the bill until the current congressional term ends and the new session is installed on January 3.
Covid-19 cases have increased and the US death toll is more than 330,000. The economic recovery has deteriorated despite the expansion of vaccinations that give hope of an end to the outbreak in 2021.