Millions of Americans lost their right to unemployment benefits over the weekend because the incumbent US President Donald Trump has so far blocked a corona aid package. The package of measures decided by both parties in Congress, worth around 900 billion US dollars (about 740 billion euros), provides for, among other things, the payment of higher unemployment benefits until March and the extension of existing benefits.
US President-elect Joe Biden said it was irresponsible that “millions of families” “do not know whether they will make ends meet” immediately after Christmas because of Trump’s refusals. Trump’s irresponsible actions will have “devastating consequences” for the country amid the corona crisis, Biden warned on Saturday.
The stimulus package stipulates that most citizens will receive a one-off aid payment of 600 dollars. However, Trump is calling for, among other things, an increase in the payment to $ 2,000 per capita and has therefore so far refused to put the law into force with his signature. Trump’s Republicans in the House of Representatives opposed such an increase on Thursday. There shouldn’t be a majority in the Senate either.
The draft for the aid package has been with Trump for days. All that’s missing is his signature – but he spent the weekend playing golf.
Trump’s behavior influences runoff in Georgia
Due to his unpredictable behavior, Trump also brings his party colleagues in the state of Georgia into difficulty, as the news channel CNN reports. For the Republican senators there, there will be a runoff election on January 5th for their posts. Both voted for the aid package. One of the senators, David Perdue, even ran ads announcing checks for those in need. For this he is now attacked by his democratic challenger.
“Republicans must stop playing games while Americans are starving,” said Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren on Twitter on Saturday.
As a result of the corona crisis, around 20.4 million people in the US recently received some form of unemployment benefit, almost 19 million more than at the same time in 2019. Due to different programs and deadlines, estimates assume that the aid will now be available for around ten to twelve million recipients have expired. However, should a new legal regulation come into force at a later date, most of them should receive support again. Unemployment benefits in the USA are usually relatively low and limited in time.
Despite the expiry of certain corona aid, Trump formally has until the beginning of January to put the legislative package into force with his signature or to veto. With the economic stimulus package lashed down in tough negotiations, part of the federal government’s budget of around 1.4 trillion dollars was passed. A law on the interim financing of the business will expire on Monday.
If Trump does not sign the legislative package by then, the government would have to suspend its business on Tuesday. There would be a so-called shutdown. Congress could only avert such a standstill by resolving further bridge funding.
“In just a few days, the government’s funding will run out, jeopardizing important services and salaries for the military,” warned Biden. The Democrat promised to campaign for another stimulus package from his inauguration on January 20 to contain the pandemic and stimulate the economy.