After more than five months of negotiations and the blame game, the second stimulus package is finally a reality. President Donald Trump, who has been withholding the relief package for most of last week, signed the bill Sunday evening. Even though Trump has signed the coronavirus relief package with $600 in direct payments, he continues to push for stimulus checks of $2,000.
Trump signs $600 coronavirus stimulus checks
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Apart from $600 in checks, the package includes $300 a week in jobless benefits. This federal unemployment benefit would start from Dec. 27 and run for 11 weeks, ending on March 14, 2021. Further, the $900 billion package also offers funds for small businesses, schools, as well as vaccine distribution.
Specifically, the bill includes $325 billion in loans and grants for small businesses. Also, it includes $69 billion for procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. For K-12 schools, colleges and universities, the package includes $82 billion.
Additionally, the bill allots $3.2 billion in broadband subsidies for low-income families affected by the pandemic. There is also a provision of $1 billion for tribal land connectivity.
Consumer advocacy groups welcomed Congress’ move of providing the broadband connectivity subsidy at a time when a significant portion of the population is working and learning from home.
“These subsidies will directly support those experiencing financial loss during the crisis, as affordability remains the key barrier to connectivity,” government affairs director at Public Knowledge, Greg Guice said, as per CNBC.
A point to note is that the $900 billion packages excludes two controversial sticking points between Democrats and Republicans. These are COVID-19 liability protections, which Republicans want, and aid to state and local governments, which Democrats want.
Trump, Democrats pushing for $2,000 checks
Though Trump has approved the package offering $600 in stimulus checks, he continues to bat for coronavirus stimulus checks of a higher amount. Trump has been criticizing the $900 billion since last week, calling it a “disgrace.” Even on Saturday and Christmas Day, Trump tweeted about $600 checks, calling it “measly.”
Trump's press secretary also tweeted Trump’s statement in favor of $2,000 stimulus checks.
“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” the statement read.
Along with Trump, Democrats are also pushing for $2,000 in checks. The House is expected to vote on a bill calling for $2,000 in checks. In a statement on Sunday, Trump said that the Senate would also “start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000.”
It is not clear that, if lawmakers approve higher checks, whether it would be in addition to the $600 checks, or replace it.