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Trump Signs Spending Bill That Includes COVID-19 Relief Legislation

© Photo : White House videoTrump blasts covid-19 relief bill
Trump blasts covid-19 relief bill - Sputnik International
The US president specified that he will send back to Congress "a redlined version," requesting that "wasteful items" be removed from the bill.

President Donald Trump has signed the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, Washington Post reported on Sunday.

According to the newspaper, the signing took place on Sunday, while Trump was vacationing in Florida, the newspaper said citing anonymous sources. The president's statement was released later in the day.

“I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more,” Trump said.

It appears that Trump has negotiated a commitment from the House and Senate to look into the "very substantial voter fraud" and to initiate a vote to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 and repeal Section 230, which has been criticized for facilitating the spread of disinformation online. Trump said in early December that Section 230 is a liability shielding gift from the US government to "Big Tech" and represents a serious threat to US national security and election integrity. 

“On Monday, the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200. Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed,” Trump said.

Earlier in the day, the president indicated on his Twitter page some "good news" was coming concerning the coronavirus stimulus.

Following months of stalled negotiations, on Monday, December 21, Republicans and Democrats managed to finally agree on a $900 billion coronavirus relief plan and a $1.4 trillion government spending allocation which was sent to President Trump for his signature. The COVID-19 relief included individual payments of $600 for qualifying Americans.

However, Trump criticized the $600 payments in the bill as a "disgrace", calling for them to be raised to $2,000 per individual or $4,000 per family.

“Increase payments to the people, get rid of the “pork”, the president tweeted.

The Senate passed the bill with a 92-6 veto-proof margin, combined with a $1.4 trillion spending bill to keep the government running in 2021. Trump requested changes, calling on lawmakers to trim down the bill by removing "wasteful and unnecessary items." He was particularly concerned that the $1.3 billion in aid money for Egypt and its military would likely be used to purchase military equipment from Russia.

The president-elect Joe Biden has urged Trump to sign the relief, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sided with the president's call for $2,000 one-off stimulus payments for every American. The so-called progressive wing of the Democrat Party, including Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and also independent democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, also supported Trump's proposal for $2,000 checks. Sanders, at the same time, called for the bill to be signed immediately.

"Donald Trump wants to give the people money because the situation is very bad in the United States. People are very poor. The crime rate is very high. They are criticising him and they would say Donald will make the United States bankrupt, giving these $2,000 to everybody. [...] So my view is that there are Democrats and there are Republicans who want to pass this bill. But the problem is that the division within the two political parties is creating a big problem. Also the media does not like Donald Trump at all", says Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, professor at Harold Washington College in Chicago, in the Political Science Department.

Addressing the criticism that Trump has faced for his delay in signing the bill, Pamela Geller, a political analyst, commentator and editor-in-chief of the Geller Report, explains that the mainstream media and the Democratic Party would target POTUS no matter what he does.

"Trump represents what may be the last obstacle between them and the destruction of free society in America. The left hates individual rights (Americanism). Trump is the people's president - not theirs. They hate him, as they hate us, and they hate him because he interferes with their plans to impose authoritarian leftist rule. The Democrats held it up for months and months and NOW it is suddenly a life and death matter? More leftist abuse and lies. They held it up for months to bail out bankrupt, destroyed Democrat cities. This is just propaganda to shift the blame on Trump yet again and divert attention away from his efforts to remove the self-serving 'foreign aid' provisions in the bill that aid Washington politicians but not the American people", Geller says.

The political analyst goes on to assert that if Biden were to delay signing the bill, he would not face similar criticism.

"Nothing Biden does if he becomes President, even if he gets the US into a major war and loses it, will ever bring him any criticism from the media", Geller adds.

The government spending allocation needed the president’s signature by December 29 to continue with weekly unemployment insurance for Americans and to prevent the government from shutting down, since the package will also fund government agencies through to September 2021.

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