Updated Dec 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"Too many people are relying on this": Lawmakers urge Trump to sign COVID relief bill

President Trump

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Several lawmakers on Sunday railed against President Trump and demanded he sign the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and $1.4 trillion government funding measure passed by Congress last week.

Why it matters: Unemployment benefits for millions of Americans lapsed overnight, and the federal government may be forced to shut down this week if Trump does not sign the measure.

Driving the news: In a surprise announcement last week, Trump said he wants Congress to increase stimulus payments from the agreed $600 that his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin helped negotiate to $2,000.

  • But many lawmakers, including several Democrats who support $2,000 checks, want the president to first sign the measure already passed by Congress and then focus on passing additional legislation.

What they're saying:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told ABC News that "what the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel."
    • "Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They're going to be evicted from their apartments,” he said.
    • "My view is that, given the terrible economic crisis facing this country, yes, we do need to get $2,000 out to every working-class individual in this country, $500 for their kids — but you can't diddle around with the bill," he said.
    • "Sign the bill Mr. President and then immediately — Monday or Tuesday — we can pass a $2,000 direct payment for the working families of this country."
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Trump risked his legacy if he did not immediately sign the measure.
    • "I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he'll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire," Toomey told "Fox News Sunday."
    • "You don't get everything you want, even if you're the president of the United States," he said.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told CNN's "State of the Union" that he doesn't understand why Trump is playing "this old switcheroo game" now.
    • “I don’t get the point, I don’t understand what’s being done, why — unless it’s just to create chaos and show power and be upset because you lost the election. Otherwise I don’t understand it because this just has to get done. Too many people are relying on this,” he said.
    • "Right now, we’re at a point where people are left out in the dark."

Go deeper: Expanded unemployment benefits lapse with relief bill in limbo

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