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Trump averts shutdown, signs $2.3 trillion spending and COVID relief bill

Trump had refused to sign a Covid relief bill until Congress raised the amount of money paid to everyday Americans.

Updated: December 28, 2020 - 9:13am

President Trump on Sunday night signed a $2.3 trillion federal spending and COVID relief bill, averting a government shutdown and ensuring millions of Americans continue to get unemployment benefits.

Despite his misgivings about wasteful spending and low stimulus payments in the bill, Trump said he signed the legislation because “I have an obligation to protect the people of our country“ from further economic devastation. He said, however, “more money is coming” as Congress votes this week on larger checks.

The president on Sunday also invoked the 1974 Impoundment Control Act to demand “rescissions” be made to the spending measures. Under the Act, a president can seek congressional approval to rescind funds by sending a special message to Congress identifying the amount he proposes to cut, the reasons for it, and the economic impact.

“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” Trump said.

The signing came after Trump tweeted, “Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!” 

The signing brought hope to millions of Americans who lost jobless benefits over the weekend as a federal shutdown loomed.

The standoff occurred after Trump refused before Christmas to sign the $2.3 trillion spending and COVID relief bill, demanding more money for everyday Americans.

Congress failed to address the president’s demands to increase the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person. 

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