Two key federal unemployment programs expired on Saturday as President Trump resisted signing a massive $ 900 billion aid package until lawmakers more than tripled the size of relief checks .
Mr Trump’s resistance to signing the bill risks leaving millions of Americans out of work without crucial benefits, jeopardizing other essential support for businesses and families set to expire at the end of the year , and raises the possibility of a government shutdown on Tuesday.
The president blinded lawmakers last week when he called “shameful” a rescue compromise that overwhelmingly passed both houses and was negotiated by his own treasury secretary. He hinted he could veto the measure unless lawmakers increase the bill’s $ 600 direct payment checks to $ 2,000, and Mr. Trump, who was largely absent from negotiations on the compromise, doubled down on that criticism on Saturday while offering little clarity on its plans. A White House spokesman declined to say what the president intended to do.
“I just want our great people to get $ 2,000, rather than the meager $ 600 that is now in the bill,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter on Saturday. “Also, stop the billions of dollars of ‘pig’.”
The $ 2.3 trillion spending package includes the $ 900 billion in pandemic aid as well as funding to keep government open last Monday. Two federal unemployment programs put in place to expand and extend benefits expired on Saturday, meaning millions of the unemployed will lose them.