Trump wanted larger stimulus checks included in the bipartisan bill and objected to “pork” spending. ABC News reports that without the package’s funding, the government is set to shutdown at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday as money runs out.
Before Trump’s criticisms, both houses of Congress approved the bill in a sweeping bipartisan response, after the White House guaranteed Republican leaders that Trump would back it. Now, Trump wants to increase the $600 COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000, which Republicans blocked on Christmas Eve. Still, Trump is vying for larger stimulus checks.
“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” he tweeted on Saturday. “Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork.’”
President-elect Joe Biden urged Trump to quickly sign the bill as the midnight Saturday deadline approached for two federal programs that supply unemployment. “It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” Biden said in a statement. He accused Trump of an “abdication of responsibility” that has “devastating consequences.”
America’s unemployment numbers may be nearing 14 million since Thanksgiving—and around 9.5 million people have been depending on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which lapsed on Saturday. Under that program, freelancers, gig workers, and others who weren’t typically eligible for unemployment received aid.
Trump’s refusal to sign the bill means that eviction protections would run out, hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theaters wouldn’t get subsidies, and transit systems and vaccine distribution wouldn’t get much-needed funds. The relief package was also joined with a $1.4 trillion government funding bill to keep the federal government open through September. A federal shutdown will happen if Trump doesn’t sign.