President Trump officially signed off on the latest pandemic-stimulus bill Sunday, “paving the way for millions of Americans to get economic relief as the coronavirus pandemic surges across the country,” WSJ reports.
Why It Matters: Despite “overwhelming bipartisan support,” President Trump objected to aspects of the stimulus deal. But with lawmakers from both parties laying pressure on the outgoing president, Trump eventually pushed the agreement through, quelling not only the wait for financial relief but a potential government shutdown as well.
Trump isn’t done, though. The president said he expects Congress to consider legislation to raise the $600 direct payments in the package to $2,000, which the House plans to vote for on Monday. He also said the Senate would start looking into rolling back Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and investigating alleged voter fraud.
- Trump has argued firms such as Facebook and Twitter use Section 230 to “suppress conservative voices on their platforms.”
- He’s also claimed the 2020 election was “rife with voter fraud, but his allies have produced no evidence of widespread fraud and Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department hadn’t uncovered fraud on a scale that would have affected the outcome of the election.”
The Key Details:
- The “massive year-end package” includes a $1.4 trillion bill that funds the government through September. Trump has said it includes “wasteful spending on foreign aid,” and he would use the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to freeze certain aspects of the deal temporarily.
- Through December, around 14 million people were receiving benefits through pandemic-relief programs. That comprises roughly 75% of the total Americans receiving jobless benefits.
- The bill raises the number of weeks a person can claim jobless benefits to 50 weeks and adds a $100-per-week subsidy for self-employed workers.
- Some Of The Rest: $25 billion to “tenants in arrears” on their rent, $55.5 billion for discretionary overseas operations and $26.5 billion to foreign countries for development assistance.
What’s Next: Now, Congress is weighing whether to override President Trump’s veto of the separate $740.5 billion defense-policy bill. It would be the first time Congress has overridden Trump if it comes to pass.
The stimulus finally passing is good news for the continued support of consumer spending, but there are worries that it isn’t enough for many families. But I believe the markets are now looking past stimulus and concentrated more on the vaccines and the potential end of the pandemic in 2021. We will keep an eye out on the vaccine rollouts.