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Donald Trump narrowly averts a costly US shutdown

Donald Trump has signed a mammoth COVID-19 relief and government funding bill, including a modest relief payment for most Americans, averting a costly shutdown.The nearly 5,600-page, US$2.3 trillion (AU$3 trillion) bill passed the House and Senate by overwhelming margins on Monday night, just hours after its text was released.The bill authorises direct checks of $600…

Donald Trump has signed a mammoth COVID-19 relief and government funding bill, including a modest relief payment for most Americans, averting a costly shutdown.

The nearly 5,600-page, US$2.3 trillion (AU$3 trillion) bill passed the House and Senate by overwhelming margins on Monday night, just hours after its text was released.

The bill authorises direct checks of $600 (AU$788) for people earning up to $75,000 (AU$98,633) per year.

The amount decreases for higher earners and people who make over $95,000 (AU$124,935) get nothing.

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In a statement, Trump said that Congress on Monday would vote on a separate bill to “increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000 (AU$2630).”

The increase could give families of four payouts of $5,200 (AU$6839).

Members of the Senate will also gear up as they prepare to vote on legislation that would increase the payouts by $1,400.

“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” Trump said in a statement.

He added: “Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!”

The bill also creates a new $300 (AU$394) weekly unemployment supplement and replenishes a forgivable loan program for small businesses. It also creates new criminal penalties including prison time for violating copyright laws with online streaming. There was also funding for vaccine distribution, as Pfizer and Moderna both work to roll out as many vaccines to Americans as quickly as possible.

Because the bill mashed together COVID-19 relief with ordinary government spending legislation, some social media users urged Trump to veto the bill, pointing to its billions in foreign aid and legislator pet projects.

The reported signing of the package came as Trump teased news on the COVID deal – after refusing to sign off on the deal last week.

“Good news on COVID Relief Bill. Information to follow!” Trump tweeted on Sunday night.

Democrats and Republicans agreed on the deal that would give $600 stimulus checks to Americans ahead of Christmas.

Trump had refused to sign off on the package, however, demanding that the $600 stimulus check payments be increased to $2,000.

A stand-alone bill guaranteeing the $2000 checks was proposed by Democratic “squad” members on Christmas Eve – and members of Congress were set to meet on Monday.

Without Trump signing off on the package, the US Government was to head in a shutdown.

As part of Trump signing off on the package, members of Congress will also “review” and either remove or update part of the bill involving “Big Tech,” Deere said.

On Saturday night, Trump again blamed China for the COVID pandemic as he demanded a higher stimulus payout for individual Americans.

“$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!” Trump tweeted.

This post contains articles from The Sun US and the New York Post. It has been republished with permission

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