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Sign the Bill, Lawmakers Tell Trump

Congress can approve more relief later, both parties say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2020 11:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Lawmakers of both parties pressed President Trump on Sunday to sign the COVID-19 relief and spending bill, after unemployment benefits for millions of Americans expired overnight. "What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel," said Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "So many people are hurting." The president gave no indication of budging on his insistence on increasing COVID relief checks to $2,000 per person and his complaints about "pork" spending in the bill passed by Congress before he went golfing Sunday in Florida. "You don't get everything you want, even if you're president of the United States," Sen. Pat Toomey said. The Pennsylvania Republican voted for the bill, and wants Trump to sign it, in spite of his own opposition to parts of it, USA Today reports. "I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he'll be remembered for chaos and misery, and erratic behavior," Toomey said.

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Several of the lawmakers called on Trump to sign the bill now and let Congress follow up with expanded relief quickly. President-elect Joe Biden also has called for Trump to sign the measure. The bill includes money to keep government operating, and a shutdown will take place Tuesday without it. If Trump vetoes the bill, Congress could override his move. But he hasn't said that's his plan, CNET points out. If he just lets it wither away, the new Congress would have to start over next month. "It's going to be difficult if the president doesn’t sign this bill," said Earl McCarthy, a Georgia father of four who lost his job as a sales representative. He's looking at having no income come the second week of January, per the AP. In South Bend, Indiana, Lanetris Haines, a self-employed single mother of three, is losing her $129 weekly jobless benefit while the standoff continues. "It's a chess game, and we are pawns," she said.

(Read more COVID relief bill stories.)

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