Unemployment insurance for millions of Americans ran out when Republican and Democratic officials on Sunday urged President Donald Trump to sign government spending legislation that includes a new bill to stimulate the coronavirus.
Trump last week jeopardized the entire $ 900 billion package when he suddenly demanded that Congress approve $ 2,000 direct payments rather than the $ 600 provided for in the legislation. The measure would also fund the federal government until September 30, meaning a strike would begin Tuesday without the president’s signature or further congressional action.
“Sign the bill, let it be done,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told CNN’s State of the Union. “And if the president wants to push for more, let’s do that too. Let’s work in a twofold way. This would be a great way to end the administration. ”
“You can not wander around with the bill,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Told ABC’s This Week. “Sign the bill, Mr. President, and then we can immediately, Monday, Tuesday, pass on a direct payment of $ 2,000 to the working families of this country.”
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Has agreed that the president should now sign the bill. Trump could then always plead for a separate bill that would increase direct payments to $ 2,000, Toomey said.
“You do not get everything you want, even if you are the president of the United States,” Toomey told Fox News. ‘We now have a bill that has helped his administration negotiate. I think we should do it. ”
“When he left office, I understand he wanted to be remembered for pleading for large checks,” Toomey added, adding that he opposed the $ 2,000 checks. “But the danger is that he will be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he lets it lapse.”
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The discussions took place before the planned vote on separate legislation in the House on Monday. increased payments to $ 2,000. House Democrats on Thursday unanimously tried to pass the bill, but Republicans blocked the attempt.
Members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation joined the chorus of lawmakers on Sunday, urging Trump to sign the original legislation.
Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., Tweeted that ‘millions of Americans are losing unemployment benefits because of the president’s act. There is no excuse for the president to postpone this necessary assistance, ” and Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker said that “states will not have critical funds to distribute the vaccine” if the bill is not signed into law. not.
And members of the dual group of senators and representatives, who began the stimulus negotiations with their $ 908 billion proposal, on Sunday called for swift action to sign or veto the legislation.
“We ask you to please sign the emergency relief bill,” said lawmakers, including Representative Josh Gottheimer, D-5th dist. “However, if your objection to the COVID-19 bill prevents you from signing, you must veto it immediately. You have made your position clear and those who are in favor of it can be quickly rejected before it is too late. ‘
The $ 900 billion package, which included $ 600 stimulus checks, more money for small businesses and an extension of 11 11-week unemployment insurance benefits, overwhelmingly approved Congress last Monday and was applauded by Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin , who helped negotiate the measure.
“Everyone assumed, everyone, that Mnuchin represented the White House,” Sanders told ABC. “And that was the assumption everyone had.”
But then Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that the legislation was a ‘disgrace’, asking for the checks to be increased to $ 2,000 and reiterating the claim over the weekend.
According to U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., The fourth-ranking GOP senator from the House, there is likely not enough support among Senate Republicans to pass the higher payments.
“I would be surprised if we dealt with it,” Blunt said last week.
Jonathan D. Salant can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JDSalant.
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