US President Donald Trump on Sunday reluctantly signed a massive $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill, averting the possibility of a weeks-long government shutdown at the last minute. The latest Covid-19 stimulus package has ensured that an estimated 12 million people under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will now receive payments for another 11 weeks. Additionally, US nationals receiving jobless payments will get a $300 weekly boost from the federal government through mid-March.
However, the delay in signing the bill means millions of Americans getting financial aid in two key pandemic unemployment programs may not receive a payment for the final week of the year. According to a CNN report, the payments could also be delayed for several weeks since state agencies have to reprogram their computers. Also, the states won’t be able to provide financial assistance for the weeks that started before programs were authorised through the Covid-19 relief bill.
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In a statement released by the White House, Trump said that he was signing the bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, and add substantially more money for vaccine distribution.
“As President of the United States it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China Virus,” the statement read.
The outgoing US president said that he signed the bill only after securing a commitment from the lawmakers to consider legislation to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Trump also claimed that Congress has promised to review Section 230 and either terminate or substantially reform it.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is considered extremely vital for social media networks since the firm cannot be held accountable for the millions of content posted by users. Trump added that the House and the Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the “very substantial voter fraud” in the recently concluded presidential elections.