Updated Dec 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump signs COVID relief bill, averting government shutdown

Donald Trump in the Oval Office

Photo: Doug Mills/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits and avert a government shutdown, the White House said in an emailed statement Sunday evening.

Details: While Trump signed the current bill providing $600 checks for most Americans hours before a midnight government shutdown deadline, he is continuing his push to bring that amount to $2,000, as Axios reported earlier.

  • Trump said in a statement the House would on Monday "vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000" and both the House and Senate "have agreed to focus strongly" on his baseless electoral fraud allegations.
  • The Senate has also promised that the tech industry's prized liability shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, "will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed," he said.
" The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud."
— Excerpt from Trump's statement

Between the lines: Those provisions were sweeteners to get Trump to agree to sign the legislation — a way of assuring him that his key demands would get a hearing, Republican officials said.

Why it matters: Trump's delay in signing the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and $1.4 trillion government funding measure caused unemployment benefits for millions of Americans to lapse overnight.

  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers, angered over the delay, urged Trump earlier on Sunday to sign the measure, saying "too many people" depended on it.

What they're saying: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement saying, "The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now."

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Trump's signing of the bill was "welcome news for the fourteen million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas Weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis."
  • Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted, "The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks. Then I will move to pass it in the Senate. No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?"

Go deeper: Inside the $900 billion stimulus compromise

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout

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