Biden urges Trump to sign COVID relief bill, fears shutdown

'This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences,' Joe Biden said in an official statement.

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President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement urging President Donald Trump to sign the $2.3 trillion government funding and coronavirus relief package. Several critical services, including unemployment benefits, are set to expire.

“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,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

He criticized Trump’s delay as an “abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences.”

More than 10 million Americans are expected to lose their unemployment insurance benefits and the risks that await. NBC News reports that a failure to sign the relief bill before Monday could lead to a government shutdown and cause a further delay of coronavirus relief to Americans.

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“In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk. In less than a week, a moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions at risk of being forced from their homes over the holidays,” Biden said.

Biden emphasized that the bill is “critical” and “needs to be signed into law now.”

According to NBC News, Trump publicly spoke against the coronavirus relief package on Dec. 21, where he criticized the $600 direct deposit to Americans as too low.

“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said.

Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

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He continued with his criticism, saying, “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package. And maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted on Dec. 24 that the House will vote on Monday for a stand-alone bill to increase payments to $2,000 despite Republicans initially voting against it.

Pelosi issued a statement, saying, “To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need.”

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