By Seun Adeuyi
President of the United States (US), Donald Trump finally signed a massive $900 billion stimulus bill on Sunday, after delaying for nearly a week and under pressure from all sides.
This is a long-sought boost for millions of Americans and businesses battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The package “providing coronavirus emergency response and relief” is part of a larger spending bill that, with Trump’s signature, will avoid a government shutdown on Tuesday.
In a statement from his Christmas vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the President said, “I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP (Paycheck Protection Programmes), return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more.”
This is coming after a day marked by calls from all sides of the political spectrum for action to avert an economic and social disaster, especially for America’s vulnerable populations.
Two federal unemployment benefit programs approved in March as part of an initial Covid-19 relief plan expired at midnight on Saturday.
The relief package extends those benefits as well as others set to expire in the days ahead.
But for days, the President had refused to put his signature on it, saying the bill was a “disgrace” and catching both Democrats and Republicans off guard with his complaints, which came after months of negotiations.
Mitt Romney, Influential Republican senator said he was “relieved” at the signing.
He tweeted, “Help is now on the way to workers, families, and small businesses across the country who are desperately in need.”