President Signs COVID-19 Relief Bill, Opening Way For Funding
President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill Sunday, which will send $1.7 billion in aid to Hawai‘i.
Financial relief will come primarily in the form of $600 stimulus checks to most state residents, $300 plus-up payments to those still relying on unemployment checks to survive, and funding for businesses. Healthcare resources and vaccine distribution will also be funded.
“Help is on the way. With this bill now signed into law, at least $1.7 billion will now flow to Hawai‘i to help those who’ve lost their job or can’t make rent,” said US Senator Brian Schatz. “It will provide more money for businesses, and give our state, hospitals, and health care providers more resources to distribute the vaccine and fight this pandemic. While it’s not enough, and we still have more work to do, this will provide help immediately.”
The future of the bill was in question for the last several days. After months of negotiation between the country’s two major political parties, an agreement was reached last week, though the president aired several grievances with the legislation sent to his desk for a signature.
Included as part of the legislation is $1.4 trillion in spending, which included significant foreign aid and other financial stipulations Trump disagreed with, leading him to dub the bill “a disgrace” last Tuesday upon its passage. The president also took issue with the $600 stimulus payments, saying publicly they should be raised to $2,000.
Trump’s signature of the bill Sunday allows the federal government to dodge a partial shutdown, which would have gone into effect this coming Tuesday without the passage of a spending bill. The coronavirus relief portion of the legislation will provide unemployment benefits through March, though several million US citizens are now projected to miss out on a week of unemployment because the bill wasn’t signed by a Saturday deadline.
The president said Sunday that Congress will vote on whether to increase the individual stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, though the Republican-led Senate has not yet committed to taking up such a measure should it clear the House of Representatives.
House Democrats jumped on the president’s rhetoric last week, pushing for more personal relief. However, the majority of Republicans across both chambers of Congress have stood against raising the $600 number to this point in the process.
President-Elect Joe Biden said he will take measure to provide more coronavirus relief funding once he assumes office next month.