Dear Commons Community,
After throwing the bills into chaos last week, President Donald Trump caved last night and signed the coronavirus relief and federal spending measures, averting a government shutdown and ensuring millions of unemployed Americans get some relief going into the new year.
It was an act of mercy for millions, after the president suddenly indicated Tuesday night that he wouldn’t support the bill. Trump said he wanted to increase direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000 ― as well as eliminate a number of foreign aid provisions that were included in his own budget request earlier this year ― but Republicans wouldn’t go along with his call to increase checks, and Trump seemed to realize that holding out on the bill would cause chaos and distress across the country. On top of ending unemployment benefits for more than 10 million people, Trump would have caused a government shutdown, delayed vaccine distribution, and held up stimulus checks for weeks ― if they ever even came.
Instead, Trump folded and agreed to the bill that lawmakers and his own administration negotiated. An hour before signing the bill, Trump tweeted from his Mar-a-Lago resort that he had “good news on Covid Relief Bill.” He is vacationing at the Florida resort for the Christmas holiday.
Trump’s decision to sign the bill is a major sigh of relief for Republican lawmakers, who were surprised to see the president, who spent months seemingly uninterested in negotiations, suddenly turn on a bill that’s been tediously hashed out for months.
Trump released a ranting four-minute video on Twitter Tuesday, where he called the government spending Congress had passed “wasteful” and criticized the COVID-19 provisions as inadequate. He also demanded $2,000 stimulus checks, even though he hadn’t pushed for them in a package his own White House negotiated.
The bill, which was largely seen as the only compromise that could get through a deeply divided Congress, passed with veto-proof majorities — 359-53 in the House and 92-6 in the Senate.