President Donald Trump has signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill into law, per the Associated Press. Trump’s approval also averts a government shutdown, as funding was set to expire Monday night.
The relief package, which will provide much-needed economic support to businesses and individuals across the country, also includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through the end of the fiscal year in September.
Trump’s signature comes after a delay, as Congress approved the bill on Dec. 21. Though Trump stalled signing the bill in order to demand that it contain higher stimulus checks for Americans and less government spending, the unemployment benefits for millions lapsed Saturday night.
The package establishes 11 additional weeks of compensation for unemployed Americans, temporarily adding $300 per week to the amount received through unemployment programs. It will also issue a one-time direct payment of $600 to Americans making less than $75,000 per year, including dependents. A new round of subsidies for businesses, restaurants and theaters is also included, as well as additional funds for schools, healthcare providers and renters.
The package also includes a $15 billion aid package in line with the Save Our Stages Act, which will provide grants to live venues and independent movie theaters. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one of the act’s biggest advocates, told Variety in an interview why the initiative has been so successful.
“We had red and blue states, people from country music to rap, from Pitbull to Lady Gaga, and it made a difference, because sometimes people get caught up in infighting and other things,” Klobuchar said. “…We had each others’ backs and explained it to members — and the fact that we had 57 co-sponsors in the Senate out of 100 was extraordinary; we had over 200 House members on the bill, and we always made sure that it was bipartisan.”
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