The wait is over.
President Donald Trump signed the $900-billion bipartisan COVID-19 economic relief bill Sunday night, just one day after two pandemic unemployment programs expired and less than a week after the president called for larger stimulus checks.
In a video on Twitter Tuesday night, President Trump asked Congress for $2,000 stimulus payments, as opposed to the proposed $600. Congress did not increase stimulus payments prior to the president signing the bill Sunday night, however. In a statement, President Trump asked Congress to vote on the matter Monday.
“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” the president said in a statement. “I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more ... On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000.
Among the benefits, the stimulus package, as it stands Monday before the House votes, includes:
- One-time $600 stimulus checks to adults earning $75,000 or less, plus an additional $600 per qualifying child
- A weekly federal unemployment supplement of $300 through March 14, half the benefit provided earlier via the CARES Act
- The extension of two pandemic unemployment programs that expired Dec. 26—the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)—through March 14, or April 5 for workers who are already on one by March 14 and haven’t reached the maximum number of weeks
- An extension on the moratorium on renter evictions through Jan. 31
While the president’s signature is a welcomed development, the matter of stimulus check amounts is still in limbo. The House will vote Monday whether to increase these direct payments from $600 to $2,000 for adults, though House Republicans blocked a vote for $2,000 checks this past week. If approved, the proposal will go to the Senate for a vote.
The odds are that stimulus payments will not be increased to $2,000, economists at Moody’s Analytics wrote in a commentary. While the House will vote first, there isn’t a ton of support in the Senate.
The president also approved a separate $1.4-trillion omnibus spending package to keep the government running and avoid a partial shutdown that would’ve kicked in Tuesday after a short-term funding provision ended.