Trump rejects Covid-19 relief Bill, calling it 'a disgrace'

Mr Donald Trump made clear he would not accept the legislation. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Dec 22) rejected a US$900 billion (S$1.2 trillion) bipartisan Covid-19 stimulus package, calling it "a disgrace" and demanding that lawmakers more than triple relief payments to Americans.

While he did not explicitly say he would not sign the Bill, which passed overwhelmingly on Monday in both houses of Congress, Mr Trump made clear he would not accept the legislation.

"It really is a disgrace," he said in a video message posted to Twitter. "I am asking Congress to amend this Bill and increase the ridiculously low US$600 to US$2,000, or US$4,000 for a couple," he said, referring to relief checks meant to go out to most Americans.

"I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and just send me a suitable Bill."

As the Covid-19 death count rises amid a massive coronavirus resurgence that further threatens the world's largest economy, Republican and Democratic legislators finally hammered out a Bill after months of wrangling and partisan finger-pointing.

Any delay in approving a deal would have dire consequences - it is meant to spare millions of jobless workers days away from seeing their unemployment benefits expire, and provide a new round of cash payouts.

Small businesses will benefit from more government grants, while the package also includes rental assistance and help to families facing eviction.

The massive package is part of a US$2.3 trillion, almost 5,600-page "coronabus" Bill that includes a so-called omnibus Bill to fund the government for the coming year.

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