With the clock ticking toward a potential U.S. government shutdown, President Donald Trump on Sunday signed a $2.3 trillion spending legislation, which includes $900 billion for coronavirus relief and the remainder for government spending through next September.
The president had called the bill “a disgrace” after it had been passed in the House and Senate, capping months of negotiations in which Trump was little involved.
The bill was flown from Washington to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida to be available if Trump decided to sign it into law.
The stand-off appeared to break when Trump hinted in a tweet late Sunday, “Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!”
Without Trump’s signature or passage of a stopgap measure to fund operations, a partial government shutdown would have begun shortly after midnight Monday. Increased unemployment benefits and eviction protections expired early Sunday.
Trump had sharply criticized the legislation earlier this week and on Saturday indicated his continued objections to it.
“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork’” he tweeted Saturday.
I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in “pork”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2020
Trump’s support for the larger checks had been seen as a rebuke to members of his Republican party, which had resisted Democratic efforts to negotiate larger payments.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle called on the President to sign the bill. Over the weekend, a group of bipartisan lawmakers said Trump should choose – either sign the emergency relief bill or veto it outright, which would allow Congress to attempt to override the veto.
“If your objection to the Covid-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately. You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late,” the lawmakers said.
Even with the bill signed, Congress is planning to return to work Monday, interrupting its usual Christmas recess.
House members are scheduled to vote Monday to override Trump’s veto of a $740 billion bill authorizing the country’s defense programs. If the House vote passes, the Senate could vote on the measure as early as Tuesday. It requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers to override a presidential veto.
Trump has criticized the defense bill on several fronts, arguing without explanation that the bill benefits China. He has demanded the removal of language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders who seceded from the United States in the 1860s. He has also demanded the addition of a provision making it easier to sue social media companies over content posted by their users.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s veto “an act of staggering recklessness that harms our troops.”
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