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Trump Signs Coronavirus Aid Bill

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Trump Signs Coronavirus Aid Bill
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American President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion spending plan measure Sunday night that he had suggested he would veto. The bill includes $900 billion for coronavirus aid and $1.4 trillion for government operations through next September.

The president had called the bill “a disgrace” after the Senate passed it last week. His objections surprised many in Congress. Republican and Democratic leaders called on Trump throughout the week, urging him to sign it.

Without Trump’s signature or passage of a temporary measure, a partial government shutdown would have begun Tuesday.

Increased unemployment benefits and housing protections had ended earlier on Sunday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, called the signing “welcomed news for the 14 million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas Weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, praised Trump for preventing “a government shutdown at a time when our nation could not have afforded one.” He said the bill was not perfect but would do a huge amount of good for struggling Americans “who need help now.”

Trump said in announcing the signing that he was also demanding changes to the legislation to remove what he called “wasteful items.” Those demands amount to suggestions to Congress and will not necessarily result in any changes to the bill.

His main objection to the bill was the amount of individual coronavirus aid payments to Americans.

“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.

Trump’s support for the larger payments was seen as criticism of members of his Republican Party who resisted Democratic efforts to negotiate larger payments.

Democrats have described the aid bill as just a first step in their push for a more expansive aid program.

“We need to ensure robust support for state and local government to distribute and administer a vaccine, keep workers employed and prevent devastating service cuts – and we must do so as soon as possible,” Pelosi said.

Trump did veto a separate spending bill last week. The $740 billion measure would support the country’s defense programs.

Congress has suspended its usual Christmas break to return to work to consider an override, or rejection, of Trump’s veto. A two-thirds majority vote in both legislative bodies is required to override a presidential veto.

I’m Caty Weaver.

VOA News reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

disgrace -n. something that you are or should be ashamed of​

afford -v. to be able to do (something) without having problems or being seriously harmed​

item -n. an individual thing : a separate part or thing​

robust -adj. successful or impressive and not likely to fail or weaken​

distribute -v. to give or deliver (something) to people​

devastating -adj. causing great damage or harm​