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Monday, March 8, 2021

Trump signs pandemic aid and spending bill

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Trump signs pandemic aid and spending bill
Trump signs pandemic aid and spending bill

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday signed the bipartisan $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and averting a federal government shutdown.

Bryan Wood reports.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion pandemic aid bill on Sunday alongside a spending package, a sudden reversal after he bashed the bill and called it a 'disgrace.'

It restores unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who lost their jobs amid the pandemic and stops a partial government shutdown.

Early Sunday evening, the Republican president tweeted a cryptic message: "Good news on Covid Relief Bill.

Information to follow!" It's not immediately clear why Trump changed his mind.

Last week, he'd demanded that Congress increase direct aid payments to Americans from $600 to $2,000 and slash other spending included in the bill.

Democrats were poised to increase the stimulus checks to Trump's proposed amount, but many Republicans refused to back the idea.

Hours before the news broke, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey told Fox News that Trump wants "to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he'll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior." A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that his advisers urged him to sign the bill, because there was no point in refusing.

Even though Trump has agreed to sign the bill, he tried to put the best face on his reversal saying he was signing it with "a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed." Trump also noted the U.S. House planned to vote on Monday to increase the relief check amount, but it would still need to pass through the Republican-controlled Senate.

Senate Majority Leader and fellow Republican Mitch McConnell thanked the President for signing the bill in a statement, but made no mention of any plans for a Senate vote.

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President Trump signed a massive pandemic aid and spending package that restores unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and..