President Trump Signs COVID-19 Relief Bill
President Donald Trump has signed the omnibus spending and COVID-19 relief package that Congress passed last week after initially hesitating to approve it.
In a statement released Sunday, the president wrote that he is sending back a redlined version of the legislation highlighting items he sees as wasteful, along with a formal rescission insisting that Congress remove those items.
"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," the president wrote. "On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200."
The president has also demanded a review of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online services (such as social media) from being held legally responsible for what third parties publish to them, and provides "Good Samaritan" protection to services that remove or moderate third-party material they deem obscene or offensive.
Trump has cited Section 230 as a major reason he has vetoed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The House is set to vote Monday on whether or not to override the president's veto of that legislation. (Interesting note: the 2021 NDAA contains a piece of legislation titled the Corporate Transparency Act, which would target anonymous shell companies.)
During the delay in signing the bill, there was a lapse in federal unemployment benefits that expired the day after Christmas, and a government shutdown loomed. The package signed by the president funds the federal government through September and extends financial lifelines for those currently unemployed, small businesses, healthcare facilities, and vaccine distributors.
As reported by Fox Business, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on the president to encourage Congressional Republicans to support a stand-alone bill to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 - an idea which the president supports and cited as one reason for not having signed the package earlier.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said stimulus payments could begin going out as soon as Monday, January 4. Forbes has a stimulus payment calculator available on their website, but keep in mind there's still the ongoing argument over an increase in individual payments.
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