Trump Signs Coronavirus Aid Bill After Panning $600 Stimulus Checks
President Donald Trump backed away from a crisis of his own making by signing a $900 billion pandemic relief bill Sunday night that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.
The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as an increase in food stamp benefits. Money for vaccine distribution and protections against evictions also hung in the balance.
It also triggered political headaches for congressional Republicans a week before two runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate.
There was relief in equity markets as Trump’s action meant aid money would flow into the economy and the threat of a government shutdown was erased. U.S. stock futures pushed higher early Monday.
Trump got little if anything from the drama. Congress is unlikely to agree to the raft of changes Trump demanded in a lengthy signing statement. Once his signature was on the law, the president lost much of the leverage he had to extract $2,000 direct payments, cuts to foreign aid and a rollback of social media companies’ liability shield.
Instead, Trump created a political opening for Democratic leaders.
“Our Democratic majority will reject any rescissions submitted by President Trump,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey said in a statement.
Biden Harris Tout Mlk Service At Part Of Healing ‘duty’
Biden and his family encouraged Americans to join them in volunteer work and acts of service on MLK Day, the only federal holiday to also be designated as a day of service.
Service is a fitting way to start to heal, unite, and rebuild this country we love, Biden encouraged in an email from the inaugural committee. Biden said his family was focused on supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. I hope youll join us today on the National Day of Service and make a difference in your communities.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also took part in the Day of Service.
My mother taught me that service to others not only gives life purpose and meaning, its part of the duty each of us has as members of a community, Harris tweeted Monday.
Harris also stepped down from her Senate seat Monday ahead of her swearing in as vice president. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is set to be sworn in as her replacement.
President Donald Trump does not have any acts of service on his agenda for Monday.
Why Did Trump Change His Mind
After the coronavirus aid relief bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives and Senate last Monday, Mr Trump issued an implied veto threat, describing the package as a “disgrace” and full of “wasteful” items.
The bill includes a payment of $600 to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year. Mr Trump said he wanted Americans to receive $2,000 – but Republicans in Congress refused to agree to the change.
Mr Trump also baulked at the annual aid money for other countries in the federal budget, arguing that those funds should instead go to struggling Americans.
His demand to send the measure back to Capitol Hill stunned lawmakers since he had largely stayed out of the negotiations.
His top economic adviser, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, had proposed the $600 payments early this month, and many questioned why the president had waited so long to object.
It was not immediately clear why Mr Trump – who is in Florida – finally decided to sign the bill into law on Sunday.
He said he was signing the bill with “a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed”.
He leaves office on 20 January after losing November’s election to Mr Biden, although he has refused to admit defeat.
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Nsa Moves Forward With Installing Trump Loyalist As General Counsel Democrats Blast Move
Just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, the National Security Agency is moving forward with installing Michael Ellis, a Republican operative and loyalist of President Donald Trump, as the agencys general counsel.
Congressional Democrats blasted the move, accusing the Trump administration of politicizing a critical civil service position at the governments largest spy agency.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller had ordered NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone to install Ellis before a 6 p.m. Saturday deadline, the Washington Post reported, after originally tapping him in November following Trumps reelection loss.
“Mr. Ellis accepted his final job offer Saturday afternoon, an NSA official said to USA TODAY, adding that the NSA is moving forward with his employment.”
Politico and CNN reported Ellis will begin his job Tuesday, the day before Bidens inauguration.
Ellis, former counsel to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a Trump ally, has worked in the White House since 2017, first as deputy legal advisor for the National Security Council and later senior director of intelligence on the NSA.
He is tied to the controversy surrounding Trumps 2019 phone call with the president of Ukraine that led to the presidents first impeachment. In testimony, Lt Col. Alexander Vindman said Ellis advised that a memo documenting the phone call be moved to a highly classified server.
Trump Signs Fosta Bill Targeting Online Sex Trafficking Enables States And Victims To Pursue Websites
President Trump signed a bill Wednesday that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking ads and enables victims and state attorneys general to file lawsuits against those sites.
Addressing the victims and family members in attendance, the president said, Im signing this bill in your honor. You have endured what no person on Earth should ever have to endure. Trump added, This is a great piece of legislation, and its really going to make a difference.
Standing next to Trump as he signed the legislation was Yvonne Ambrose of Chicago, whose 16-year-old daughter, Desiree Robinson, was slain after being prostituted on Backpage in 2016. It means so much to our family, Ambrose said of the bill. Hopefully, there wont be many more people who have to endure that pain.
The bill, nicknamed FOSTA for its title, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, goes into effect immediately, but its impact was already being seen around the Internet as sites shut down sex-related areas and stopped accepting sex-related advertising.
FOSTA gives prosecutors the tools they need, said Rep. Ann Wagner , chief sponsor of the bill, to ensure that no online business can ever approach the size of Backpage again.
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What Is The Impact
Republican Senator Mitt Romney said he was “relieved” that the legislation had at last become law.
Relieved that this long-awaited, bipartisan emergency #COVID19 legislation has finally been signed into law. Help is now on the way to workers, families, and small businesses across the country who are desperately in need.
Senator Mitt Romney
Earlier, Republican Senator Pat Toomey said the president risked being remembered for “chaos, misery and erratic behaviour”.
US President-elect Joe Biden had warned of “devastating consequences” if Mr Trump continued to refuse to sign.
In a strongly worded statement published on the transition website on Saturday, Mr Biden described Mr Trump’s refusal to sign the bill as an “abdication of responsibility”.
“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,” Mr Biden said.
Trump Signs Order Banning Transactions With Eight Chinese Apps Including Alipay
WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Groups Alipay, the White House said, escalating tensions with Beijing before President-elect Joe Biden takes office this month.
The order, first reported by Reuters, tasks the Commerce Department with defining which transactions will be banned under the directive and targets Tencent Holdings Ltds QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay as well.
The move is aimed at curbing the threat to Americans posed by Chinese software applications, which have large user bases and access to sensitive data, a senior official told Reuters.
A U.S. Tencent spokeswoman did not immediately comment.
The order signed by Trump also names CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate and WPS Office and says the United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security.
A U.S. official told Reuters that even though the order gave the Commerce Department 45 days to act the department plans to act before Jan. 20 when Trump leaves office to identify prohibited transactions.
Trumps order says by accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information.
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Donald Trump Signs Bill Calling Intelligence Agencies To Find Out The Truth Behind Ufo Military Base Sightings
- 7:23 ET, Jan 1 2021
DONALD Trump has signed a bill calling on intelligence agencies to find out the truth behind UFO military base sightings.
The Pentagon and spy agencies will have to reveal everything they know about the spooky aircrafts as part of the $2.3trillion Covid-19 relief bill signed by the President last week.
Intelligence experts have just 180 days to compile an official report on sightings of mysterious aircrafts near American military bases, which will later be made public.
Under the terms of the act, experts must reveal everything they know about unidentified aerial phenomena to congress intelligence and armed services committees.
It comes after Senator Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the US intelligence committee, said in August that unidentified objects had been buzzing near military bases.
He said: We don’t know what it is and it isn’t ours.
I would say frankly that if it’s something outside this planet it might be better than we have seen some technical leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians of other adversaries that allow them to conduct this sort of activity.
The bottom line is there are things flying over United States military bases and you don’t know what they are cause they’re not yours, and they exhibit, potentially, technologies that you don’t have at your own disposal.
That to me is a national security risk. And one that we should be looking into. Maybe there’s a completely boring explanation for it. But we need to find out.
Donald Trump Signs Covid
Move comes after Republicans voiced anger over the delay, which resulted in millions of Americans losing unemployment aid
Donald Trump has abruptly signed a $900 billion Covid-19 relief and spending bill, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.
Without the legislation, the government would have shut down on Tuesday and millions of Americans would have lost eviction protections and unemployment benefits. His delay in signing the bill has already allowed crucial unemployment aid programs to lapse.
Trump blindsided members of both parties and upended months of negotiations when he demanded last week that the package already passed by the House and Senate by large margins and believed to have Trumps support be revised to include larger relief checks and scaled-back spending.
But on Sunday night, while vacationing in Florida, Trump released a statement saying he had signed the bill, and it was his responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship caused by the coronavirus.
Trump had received the bill last Thursday and his decision to delay signing it allowed unemployment benefits for millions of Americans to expire. The lapsed benefits will not restart until the first week of January.
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