Biden calls on Trump to sign Covid-19 relief bill

United States President-elect Joe Biden has called on President Donald Trump to sign the $2.3 trillion government funding and coronavirus relief package.

Trump has refused to sign the bill since congress passed it, instead calling for the increase of direct payments to Americans from what he described as a measly $600 to $2,000.

In a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, he also complained that the bill contained too many provisions unrelated to the pandemic.

The American president’s refusal to sign the bill has caused a handful of Covid relief protections to expire.

At midnight, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which impacted 7.3 million workers, expired.

That means the end of $114 to $357 weekly payments to unemployed gig workers and self-employed people whose business has stalled.

In a statement on Saturday, Biden criticised the outgoing president for holding up the aid at the last minute, a move that may cause a government shutdown.

“It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” the president-elect said.

“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences.”

He assured Americans that more relief would come after he is inaugurated.

“This bill is critical. It needs to be signed into law now. But it is also a first step and down payment on more action that we’ll need to take early in the new year to revive the economy and contain the pandemic — including meeting the dire need for funding to distribute and administer the vaccine and to increase our testing capacity,” he said.

The bill was sent from Washington to Florida on Thursday night, where Trump is spending the holidays at his Palm Beach resort but it remains unclear if he will sign it.

“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill.

Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork,’” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

His comments have left many frustrated that he waited so long to voice his concerns after largely sitting out the negotiation process.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Democratic lawmakers would vote Monday on a standalone bill that would provide direct payments to Americans of $2,000 a person.

The House is also expected to consider on Monday on a stop-gap measure to avert a federal shutdown and keep the government running until Biden takes office on January 20.

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