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Trump signs pandemic relief bill but still insists on revisions

President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic

President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Sunday night. Credit: AP/Patrick Semansky

President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Sunday night that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a government shutdown.

The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as money for cash-starved transit systems and an increase in food stamp benefits.

Without the Republican president's signature, the government could have shutdown Tuesday.

Last week Trump suddenly objected after Congress announced a deal with the White House's apparent support. Instead, Trump called the virus aid package a "disgrace," and pressured lawmakers to change the deal to include $2,000 direct payments to most Americans. The bill calls for payments of up to $600.

Democrats support the $2,000 direct payment measure, Republican senators do not.

Trump also had attacked the bill for the amount of federal funds going to foreign countries. Whether the president would sign the bill Sunday remained a mystery until just after 7 p.m. when he sent a tweet.

"Good news on Covid Relief Bill," the tweet said. "Information to follow!"

In a statement later Trump said: "I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed."

Republicans and Democrats swiftly welcomed Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law.

"The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "I thank the President for signing this relief into law."

Earlier Sunday, federal and state law makers said Trump needed to do what was best for the millions hurt financially by the pandemic.

"You don’t get everything you want, even if you’re president of the United States. I think the COVID relief measures are really, really important," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a conservative who helped negotiate the Senate Republicans' demands in the deal, said on "Fox News Sunday."

On ABC's "This Week," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said and agreement in Congress was reached "at least on something. It's not enough, but it's a step in the right direction. And we need to get it done."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on ABC's "This Week" that the president shouldn't "diddle around with the bill."

"My view is that given the terrible economic crisis facing this country, yes, we do need to get $2,000 out to every working class individual in this country, 500 bucks for their kids," Sanders told anchor Jonathan Karl. "But you can't diddle around with the bill. Sign the bill, Mr. President, and then immediately, Monday, Tuesday, we can pass a $2,000 direct payment to the workings families of this country."

With AP

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